Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Kinesiology



First Advisor

Christie Ward-Ritacco


Importance and Objective: Physical function limitations affect approximately one fifth of middle- aged women. However, correlates of these limitations are poorly understood; limited research investigates the associations between menopausal status, physical function, physical activity, and body composition, and the research available is equivocal about these associations. Methods: Using a cross-sectional approach, 107 (53.31 ± 6.14 yr) middle-aged women completed six objective assessments of physical function (transfer task, 8-foot up-and-go, 30-second chair stands, 6-minute walk test, lift and carry, and lower extremity physical function composite score) and one subjective assessment of physical function (36-Item Short Form Survey physical functioning subscale). Muscular strength was measured using handgrip dynamometry. Physical activity (average steps per day, average minutes of moderate plus vigorous physical activity per day, and average minutes of total physical activity per day) was measured via accelerometry. Body composition (percent fat and percent mineral-free lean mass) was measured with Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry. Women self-identified menopausal status (premenopausal, perimenopausal, and postmenopausal). Discussion: Age was significantly different between menopausal status groups (p<0.05). When controlling for age and number of chronic medical conditions, no significant differences between menopausal status groups were found for any outcomes (all p>0.05). In a multiple linear regression controlling for number of chronic medical conditions, menopausal status was not significantly associated with any outcome (all p>0.05). However, age was independently associated with two outcomes: (1) transfer task time (p=0.015), explaining 11.1% of observed variability, and (2) handgrip strength (p=0.002), explaining 14.7% of observed variability. Conclusion: Middle-aged women, regardless of menopausal status, have similar body composition, physical activity levels, and physical function ability.



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