Background: Obesity is a growing health issue in Canada, and identifying the determinants of weight gain is important for the development of appropriate prevention strategies.
Purpose: To quantify the association between musculoskeletal fitness (MSF) and subsequent weight gain and development of obesity.
Methods: The sample included 606 participants (20-69 yr; 291 men, 315 women) from the Physical Activity Longitudinal Study (PALS), a follow-up of participants from the 1981 Canadian Fitness Survey. Standardized assessments of height, weight, MSF (push-ups, sit-ups, grip strength, and trunk flexibility), and cardiorespiratory fitness were made at baseline (1981). Follow-up data on self-reported height and weight and body mass index (BMI) were collected by survey in 2002-2004. Logistic regression was used to predict obesity and weight gain of ≥ 10 kg between 1981 and 2002-2004.
Results: During the 20-yr follow-up, the prevalence of obesity (BMI ≥ 30 kg·m−2) increased from 3.1 to 15.2%, reflecting a mean weight gain of 7.4 kg (men: 6.7 kg; women: 8.1 kg). Further, independent of age, sex, baseline BMI, physical activity, cardiorespiratory fitness, smoking, alcohol consumption, and income, low MSF was associated with significantly higher odds of having gained at least 10 kg during follow-up (OR: 1.78, 95% CI: 1.14-2.79).
Conclusions: The results indicate that MSF is a significant predictor of weight gain during a 20-yr period. Promoting participation in activities that enhance MSF may be beneficial in attenuating age-related weight gain and in preventing obesity among Canadians.