Association between the metabolic syndrome and its components and gait speed among U.S. adults aged 50 years and older: a cross-sectional analysis

Okoro, Catherine A.; Yuna Zhong; Ford, Earl S.; Balluz, Lina S.; Strine, Tara W.; Mokdad, Ali H.
January 2006
BMC Public Health;2006, Vol. 6 Issue 1, p282
Academic Journal
Background: To examine the relationship between the metabolic syndrome and its components and gait speed among older U.S. men and women. Whether these associations are independent of physical activity was also explored. Methods: Eight hundred and thirty-five men and 850 women aged ≥50 years from the continuous National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2002 were examined. We used the definition of the metabolic syndrome developed by the U.S. National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III. Gait speed was measured with a 6.10-meter timed walk examination. Results: The prevalence of the metabolic syndrome was 40.2% in men and 45.6% in women (P = .127). The prevalence of gait speed impairment was 29.3% in men and 12.5% in women (P < .001). No association was found between the metabolic syndrome and gait speed impairment. After including the individual components of the metabolic syndrome in a logistic model adjusted for age and leisure-time physical activity, abdominal obesity, low HDL cholesterol, and high fasting glucose were significantly associated with gait speed impairment among women (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 0.48, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.26 to 0.89; AOR = 2.26, 95% CI = 1.08 to 4.75; and AOR = 2.05, 95% CI = 1.12 to 3.74, respectively). Further adjustment for race/ethnicity, education, smoking status, alcohol consumption, arthritis status, and use of an assistive device attenuated these associations; among women, abdominal obesity and low HDL cholesterol remained significantly associated with gait speed impairment (AOR = 0.37, 95% CI = 0.18 to 0.76 and AOR = 2.45, 95% CI = 1.07 to 5.63, respectively) while the association between hyperglycemia and impaired gait speed attenuated to nonsignificance. Conclusion: Among women, gait speed impairment is associated with low HDL cholesterol and inversely with abdominal obesity. These associations may be sex-dependent and warrant further research.


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