A new frailty syndrome: Central obesity and frailty in older adults with the human immunodeficiency virus

Krupa Shah, Tiffany N. Hilton, Lauren Myers, Jonathan F. Pinto, Amneris E. Luque, William J. Hall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Objectives To evaluate the relationships between body composition and physical frailty in community-dwelling older adults with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) (HOA). Design Cross-sectional. Setting Academic hospital-based infectious disease clinic in Rochester, New York. Participants Forty community-dwelling HOA aged 50 and older undergoing antiretroviral therapy who were able to ambulate without assistive devices with a mean age of 58, a mean BMI of 29.0 kg/m 2, mean CD4 count of 569 cells/mL, and a mean duration since HIV diagnosis of 17 years; 28% were female and 57% Caucasian. Measurements Subjective and objective measures of functional status were evaluated using the Physical Performance Test (PPT), the graded treadmill test, knee strength, gait speed, balance, and the Functional Status Questionnaire (FSQ). Body composition was evaluated using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Results Sixty percent (25/40) of the participants met standard criteria for physical frailty. Frail (FR) and nonfrail (NF) participants were comparable in age, sex, CD4 count, and viral load. FR HOA had greater impairments in PPT, peak oxygen uptake, FSQ, walking speed, balance, and muscle quality than NF HOA. FR HOA had a greater body mass index (BMI), fat mass, and truncal fat with lipodystrophy. Moreover, PPT score was inversely related to trunk fat (correlation coefficient (r) = -0.34; P =.04) and ratio of intermuscular fat to total fat (r = -0.60; P =.02) after adjusting for covariates. Conclusion HOA represent an emerging cohort of older adults who frequently experience frailty at a much younger age than the general older population. Central obesity and fat redistribution are important predictors of frailty in community-dwelling HOA. These findings suggest that physical frailty in HOA may be amenable to lifestyle interventions, especially exercise and diet therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)545-549
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2012


  • frailty
  • function
  • human immunodeficiency virus
  • lipodystrophy
  • obesity
  • older adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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