Obesity and Physical Function in Rural Women who enroll in a Lifestyle Modification Intervention for Reducing Blood Pressure

Patricia A Hageman, Carol H Pullen, Paul Dizona, Kristin Schmidt, Linda S Boeckner
Cardiopulmonary Physical Therapy Journal 2013, 24 (4): 4-11

PURPOSE: Rural women have high prevalence of obesity and prehypertension. Obesity, if associated with poor physical function, may have implications for applying activity guidelines for women volunteering for lifestyle modification. This study examined associations of body mass index (BMI) and percent body fat with measures of 1-mile walk time, post-walk perceived exertion, and 10-repetition chair stands in rural women ages 40-69.

METHODS: Cross-sectional baseline data were collected using standardized methods from 289 rural women with prehypertension who volunteered for a lifestyle clinical trial for reducing blood pressure. ANOVAs and linear regression were used for analysis.

RESULTS: With exception of the chair stands measure across categories of BMI, group differences were noted in all measures across categories of BMI and percent body fat, with women in the two highest categories demonstrating the poorest performance. These two body composition measures were significant predictors for 1-mile walk-time and 10-repetition chair stands, after controlling for confounding variables.

CONCLUSIONS: Poorer scores were observed in performance-based measures in women with higher BMI and percent body fat, though mean scores were above thresholds for functional limitation. Physical performance needs to be assessed and addressed by physical therapists when providing lifestyle interventions for overweight and obese women.

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