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The determinants of physical function in adults with severe obesity

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Sam OrangeORCiD


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Obesity is associated with reductions in functional capacity. Currently, the physical factors underpinning obesity-related impairments in function are poorly understood. The purpose of this study was to identify the independent contributions of strength and power to physical function in adults with severe obesity whilst adjusting for well-established confounding variables. Thirty-eight adults (age: 44 ± 12 years; body mass index [BMI]: 45.2 ± 8.6 kg/m2) were recruited from a Tier 3 Weight Management Service and completed evaluations of strength, power and functional performance. Power was measured in the sit-to-stand (STS) transfer with a wearable inertial sensor, strength was assessed with the isometric mid-thigh pull, and function was measured with the timed up-and-go (TUG), six-minute walk test (6MWT) and 30-s chair STS. Power and strength (normalised to body mass) were entered into multivariate regression models in addition to age, gender, BMI and habitual physical activity. Forward stepwise regression revealed that both power and strength independently contributed to TUG (β = −0.40; −0.30) and 6MWT (β = 0.27; 0.28) performance. However, power was the only independent contributor to performance in 30-s chair STS (β = 0.67), accounting for 44% of the variance. Power generated via the STS transfer largely underpins the ability to execute functional tasks in adults with severe obesity. Practitioners may use STS power, measured with a wearable inertial sensor and normalised to body mass, as a simple proxy measure for functional status in adults who are obese.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Orange ST, Marshall P, Madden L, Vince RV

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: 5th UK Congress on Obesity

Year of Conference: 2018

Pages: 1-2

Online publication date: 30/08/2018

Acceptance date: 01/07/2018

ISSN: 2046-2174

Publisher: Nature


DOI: 10.1038/s41367-018-0001-1

Series Title: International Journal of Obesity