Date of Award

2018

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Kinesiology

Department

Kinesiology

First Advisor

Christie Ward Ritacco

Abstract

Research in older adults suggests that percent body fat may be most strongly associated with physical function performance, resulting in increased risk for disability and loss of independence; however, the component of body composition that is most strongly associated with physical function in middle-aged females is incompletely characterized. This cross-sectional study examined the impact of lean mass and percent fat on physical function performance in middle-aged females. Eighty females (ages 52.58 ± 6.10 years) were assessed for body composition (lean mass, percent fat) via dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, physical activity and sedentary time via accelerometer (steps per day, minutes per day), and physical function via Timed Up-And-Go, 30-Second Chair Stand, Transfer Task, Six-Minute Walk and Lift and Carry. Lean mass (total mass, lean mass index) was not related to any measure of physical function (all p > 0.05), while percent fat was related to Transfer Task, 30-Second Chair Stand, and Six-Minute Walk performance (all p ≤ 0.05). Hierarchical linear regression analyses revealed: (1) age, steps per day, and percent fat were related to Transfer Task, 30-Second Chair Stand, and Six-Minute Walk performance (all p ≤ 0.05); (2) age, sedentary minutes per day, and percent fat were related to Timed Up- And-Go; (3) age, and average steps per day, but not percent fat, were associated with Lift and Carry performance (p > 0.05). In middle-aged women, percent fat was most strongly associated with physical function performance, suggesting that modifying percent fat via intervention may be a method for improving functional performance.

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