The journal of nutrition, health & aging

, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 378–382 | Cite as

Impact of body mass index on the relationship between muscle quality and physical function in older women

  • Anne O. Brady
  • C. R. Straight
  • M. D. Schmidt
  • E. M. Evans



To investigate the impact of body mass index (BMI) (normal weight, overweight, obese) on the relationship between muscle quality (MQ) and physical function in community-dwelling older women.


Cross-sectional study.


University research laboratory.


Community-dwelling older women (n = 94, 73.6 ± 5.4 y) stratified by BMI (normal weight: 20.0–24.9 kg/m2; overweight: 25.0–29.9 kg/m2; obese: ≥ 30.0 kg/m2).


Body mass index using height and weight, leg extension power via the Nottingham power rig, body composition using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, and physical function (6-minute walk, 8-foot up-and-go, 30-second chair stand). Muscle quality was defined as leg power (watts) normalized for lower-body mineral-free lean mass (kg).


Following adjustments for covariates, muscle quality was significantly higher in women of normal BMI compared to overweight (10.0 ± 0.4 vs 8.7 ± 0.4 watts/kg, p = 0.03). Muscle quality was a significant predictor of performance on the 6-minute walk and 8-foot up-and-go in normal and overweight women (all p < 0.05) and performance on the 30-second chair stand in normal and obese women (both p < 0.05). Body mass index did not significantly impact the association between MQ and physical function (all p > 0.05).


Muscle quality varies by BMI, yet the relationship to physical function is not significantly different across BMI groups. The results imply that interventions that increase MQ in older women may improve physical function, regardless of BMI.

Key words

Muscle quality aging physical function obesity 


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Copyright information

© Serdi and Springer-Verlag France 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anne O. Brady
    • 1
    • 2
  • C. R. Straight
    • 1
  • M. D. Schmidt
    • 1
  • E. M. Evans
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of KinesiologyUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA
  2. 2.Department of KinesiologyUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA

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