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Franca Genest, Michael Schneider, Andreas Zehnder, Dominik Lieberoth-Leden, and Lothar Seefried

Purpose: Aging and concurrent constitutional changes as sarcopenia, osteoporosis and obesity are associated with progressive functional decline. Coincidence and mutual interference of this risk factors require further evaluation.

Methods: Cross-sectional evaluation of musculoskeletal health in a community-dwelling cohort of men aged 65-90 years. Objectives included descriptive analysis of age-related decline in physical performance, prevalence of osteoporosis (FRAX-Score), sarcopenia (EWGSOP criteria) and obesity (BMI>30kg/m²) and their coincidence/interference.

Results: Based on 507 participants assessed, aging was associated with progressive functional deterioration, regarding power (Chair Rise Test -1.54% per year), performance (Usual Gait Speed -1.38 % per year) and muscle force (Grip Strength -1.52 % per year) while muscle mass declined only marginally (Skeletal Muscle Index -0.29% per year). Prevalence of osteoporosis was 41.8% (n=212) while only 22.9% (n=116) of the participants met the criteria for sarcopenia and 23.7% (n=120) were obese. Osteosarcopenia was found in n=79 (15.6%), sarcopenic obesity was present in 14 men (2.8%). A combination of all three conditions could be confirmed in n=8 (1.6%). There was an inverse correlation of BMI with physical performance whereas osteoporosis and sarcopenia did not interfere with functional outcomes.

Conclusion: Based on current definitions there is considerable overlap in the prevalence of osteoporosis and sarcopenia, while obesity appears to be a distinct problem. Functional decline appears to be associated with obesity rather than osteoporosis or sarcopenia. It remains to be determined to what extend obesity itself causes performance deficits or if obesity is merely an indicator of insufficient activity eventually predisposing to functional decline.