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THE EFFECTS OF WEIGHT LOSS ON BODY COMPOSITION, MUSCLE STRENGTH AND PHYSICAL PERFORMANCE IN ELDERLY WOMEN WITH MORBID OBESITY

F. De Stefano, G.Pintore, F. Bolzetta, M. Marangon, G. Sergi, E. Manzato, L. Busetto

J Aging Res Clin Practice 2013;2(2):185-190

Objectives: The risk/benefits ratio of weight loss in morbid obese elderly is still debated. Our aim was to analyse the effects of an important weight loss on body composition, muscle strength and physical performance in a group of elderly morbid obese women as compared to younger female patients. Design: Intervention study. Setting: Bariatric Unit of the Padua University Hospital. Participants: 6 morbid obese women with age range 61-75 years were recruited for a 6 months weight loss treatment with the use of an intra-gastric balloon. Control group: 6 female morbid obese women with age range 20-60 years. Intervention: Elderly patients were treated with intra-gastric balloon and younger ones with laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (LAGB). Measurements: Patients were evaluated before and after weight loss. The baseline evaluation was performed immediately before the procedure. The after weight loss evaluation was performed shortly after the removal of the intra-gastric balloon in the elderly group and after obtaining a similar level of weight loss in the control group. Body composition by densitometry (DEXA), muscle composition by peripheral quantitative computed tomography (CT), muscle strength by dynamometer and physical performance by the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB) test were determined. Results: No significant differences between the two groups were found before treatment. A 14% weight loss was obtained in both groups and weight loss was associated with a loss of both fat mass and fat free mass. Peripheral quantitative CT showed no significant changes in muscle area or muscle density. A reduction in muscle strength, but a mild improvement in functional tests was found in both groups. Conclusion: Weight loss in morbid obese elderly women was associated with a significant reduction in fat free mass and muscle strength, but with a mild improvement in physical performance. These modifications were similar to those obtained in younger subjects.

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