The journal of nutrition, health & aging

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 211–217 | Cite as

Higher levels of physical fitness are associated with a reduced risk of suffering sarcopenic obesity and better perceived health among the elderly. The EXERNET multi-center study

  • Raquel Pedrero-Chamizo
  • A. Gómez-Cabello
  • A. Mélendez
  • S. Vila-Maldonado
  • L. Espino
  • N. Gusi
  • G. Villa
  • J. A. Casajús
  • M. González-Gross
  • I. Ara



To evaluate the associations between physical fitness levels, health related quality of life (HRQoL) and sarcopenic obesity (SO) and to analyze the usefulness of several physical fitness tests as a screening tool for detecting elderly people with an increased risk of suffering SO.


Cross-sectional analysis of a population-based sample.


Non-institutionalized Spanish elderly participating in the EXERNET multi-centre study.


2747 elderly subjects aged 65 and older.


Body weight, height and body mass index were evaluated in each subject. Body composition was measured by bioelectrical impedance. Four SO groups were created based on percentage of body fat and relative muscle mass; 1) normal group, 2) sarcopenic group, 3) obesity group and 4) SO group. Physical fitness was evaluated using 8 tests (balance, lower and upper body strength, lower and upper body flexibility, agility, walking speed and aerobic capacity). Three tertiles were created for each test based on the calculated scores. HRQoL was assessed using the EuroQol visual analogue scale.


Participants with SO showed lower physical fitness levels compared with normal subjects. Better balance, agility, and aerobic capacity were associated to a lower risk of suffering SO in the fittest men (odds ratio < 0.30). In women, better balance, walking speed, and aerobic capacity were associated to a lower risk of suffering SO in the fittest women (odds ratio < 0.21) Superior perceived health was associated with better physical fitness performance.


Higher levels of physical fitness were associated with a reduced risk of suffering SO and better perceived health among elderly. SO elderly people have lower physical functional levels than healthy counterparts.

Key words

Elderly sarcopenia obesity physical fitness HRQoL 


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Copyright information

© Serdi and Springer-Verlag France 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Raquel Pedrero-Chamizo
    • 1
    • 8
  • A. Gómez-Cabello
    • 2
    • 3
  • A. Mélendez
    • 1
  • S. Vila-Maldonado
    • 4
  • L. Espino
    • 5
  • N. Gusi
    • 6
  • G. Villa
    • 7
  • J. A. Casajús
    • 2
  • M. González-Gross
    • 1
  • I. Ara
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.ImFINE Research Group. Department of Health and Human Performance. Faculty of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences-INEFTechnical University of MadridMadridSpain
  2. 2.GENUD Research GroupUniversity of ZaragozaZaragozaSpain
  3. 3.Centro Universitario de la DefensaZaragozaEspaña
  4. 4.GENUD Toledo Research GroupUniversity of Castilla-La ManchaToledoSpain
  5. 5.Unit of Sports MedicineCabildo of Gran CanariaGran CanariaSpain
  6. 6.Faculty of Sport SciencesUniversity of ExtremaduraCáceresSpain
  7. 7.Institute of Biomedicine (IBIOMED)University of LeónLeónSpain España
  8. 8.ImFINE Research Group. Departament of Health and Human Performance, Facultad de Ciencias de la Actividad Física y del Deporte (INEF)Universidad Politécnica de MadridMadridSpain

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