Living Alone is Associated with Poorer Muscular Strength, Lower 25-hydroxy-vitamin D and Lower Bone Mineral Density in Icelandic Community Dwelling Old Adults
Geirsdottir OG1, Jonsson PV2,3, Thorsdottir I4 and Ramel A1*
1Faculty of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland
2The Icelandic Gerontological Research Center, Reykjavik, Iceland
3Department of Geriatrics, National University Hospital of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland
4School of Health Sciences, University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland
*Corresponding Author: Ramel A, Professor, Faculty of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Iceland, Iceland.
June 16, 2021; Published: September 16, 2021
Background: Living alone has been a significant public health concern among older adults given its association with a wide range of adverse health outcomes. The aim of this study was to examine whether living alone is associated with physical strength and bone health in community-dwelling older adults.
Methods: This was a secondary analysis of existing cross-sectional data of old adults (N = 182, 73.7 ± 5.7yrs, 58.2% female) from the Reykjavik capital area in Iceland. Information on socioeconomics, health, dietary intake and physical function was collected. 25-hydroxy-vitamin D (25OHD) and bone mineral density (BMD) were measured. Participants were grouped retrospectively into "living alone" and into "in cohabitation".
Results: Of our subjects, 76.4% were in cohabitation and and 23.6% lived alone. Participants who lived alone were older (74.5 ± 5.6 vs. 72.1 ± 5.0, P = 0.008) and more often female (74.4 vs. 53.2%, P = 0.014), but there were no differences in education, smoking, number of medications, physical activity (PA) or body mass index (BMI). According to age and gender corrected analyses, participants in cohabitation had higher grip strength (6.2 ± 2.4lb, P = 0.011), higher 25OHD (13.1 ± 6.3nmol/L, P = 0.037) and higher BMD (z-score lumbal: 1.195 ± 0.417, P = 0.005; z-score femur: 0.421 ± 0.219, P = 0.054; z-score total: 0.846 ± 0.290, P = 0.004). Statistical correction for PA, BMI, education and fish oil intake did not change the results.
Conclusion: In comparison to old adults who live in cohabitation, Icelandic old adults who live alone have poorer physical strength, lower 25OHD and lower BMD, which can increase their risk for wrist- or hip fracture. These differences between groups were not explained by physical, dietary or social confounding variables.
Keywords:Osteoporosis; Old Adults; Socioeconomic Status
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