The relationship between physical performance and obesity in elderly African-American women

Roberta A. Newton, Ronita L. Cromwell, Helen L. Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objective. To examine the relationship between physical performance and obesity in older African-American women. Methods. Obese (n 45) and nonobese (n 88) women were assessed using instrumental activities of daily living, physical function subscale of the Medical Outcomes Short Form-36, and the physical activity scale for the elderly. Physical performance was assessed by Berg Balance Scale, Tandem Stance and Single Test Stance Tests, Multidirectional Reach Test, Timed Up and Go Limb, Six-Minute Walk Test, gait stability ratio, and self-report of daily walking. Results. The obese group had significantly lower self-reported daily activities and poorer scores on several physical performance measures than nonobese older African-American women. Conclusions. Our findings substantiate a relationship between obesity and physical performance in African-American women. Although urban obese women have poorer physical performance, their impairments may be counterbalanced by their daily walking. Clinicians should consider this finding when developing rehabilitative and preventive strategies for older obese African-American women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)423-440
Number of pages18
JournalPhysical and Occupational Therapy in Geriatrics
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • African-Americans
  • Aged
  • Physical performance
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Gerontology
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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