Body composition markers in older persons with COPD

Angela Marie Abbatecola, Alessia Fumagalli, Liana Spazzafumo, Valeria Betti, Clementina Misuraca, Andrea Corsonello, Antonio Cherubini, Enrico E. Guffanti, Fabrizia Lattanzio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Body composition has been shown to be correlated with physical performance, but data in older persons with diverse chronic diseases are lacking. Objective: We aimed at investigating the associations of body composition to gait speed and nutritional status of older people in different stages of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Design, setting and subjects: Cross-sectional analysis of data from Pulmonary Rehabilitation Geriatric Unit at INRCA in Casatenovo, Italy including 132 consecutively admitted COPD patients (mean age: 75 years) with data on body composition, walking speed and respiratory parameters. Methods: Body mass parameters were assessed using bioelectrical impedance analysis. Pulmonary function tests included spirometry and arterial blood gases. Differences among body composition markers were compared according to gender. Separate multivariate linear regression models with gait speed as the dependent variable were used to test for independent associations with body composition markers after adjusting for multiple confounders. Results: Walking speed deteriorated with increasing severity of COPD. Men were heavier and had more lean mass than women. Participants in the fastest gait tertile were younger, had lower body mass index and fat mass (FM); higher lean-to-fat ratio and albumin levels and better respiratory function (FEV1, FVC) compared with those in the slower tertiles. Total body FM was an independent determinant of walking speed, while fat-free mass and lean-to-fat ratio were not. Conclusions: Excess body fat may be harmful for physical functioning among elders with COPD.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberaft196
Pages (from-to)548-553
Number of pages6
JournalAge and Ageing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Ageing
  • Body fat
  • COPD
  • Gait speed
  • Indicators
  • Older people

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Medicine(all)

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