Background and objectives:
Higher physical fitness is associated with a more favorable weight and body composition in the general population, although this association has not been studied in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The aim of the present study was to examine the association of different components of physical fitness with body composition in women with SLE with mild disease activity. Materials and Methods:
This cross-sectional study included 77 women with SLE (43.2 ± 13.8 years old) and clinical stability during the previous 6 months. Body composition (including body mass index (BMI), fat mass index (FMI), waist circumference, waist-to-height ratio and waist-to-hip ratio) was assessed using a stadiometer, an anthropometric tape, and a bioimpedance device. Physical fitness included cardiorespiratory fitness (Siconolfi step test and 6 min walk test), muscular strength (handgrip strength test as upper body measure and 30 s chair stand as lower body measure), and flexibility (back-scratch test). Participants with a fitness level equal or above the median of the study sample were categorized as “fit” and those below the median were categorized as “unfit”. Linear regression assessed the association of physical fitness with body composition parameters. Results:
Cardiorespiratory fitness and upper body muscular strength were negatively associated with BMI, FMI, waist circumference, and waist-to-height ratio (all, p
< 0.05). Lower body muscular strength and flexibility were negatively related to FMI, waist circumference, waist-to-height ratio, and waist-to-hip ratio (all, p
< 0.05). These relationships were still significant after controlling for age, disease duration, accrual damage, and SLE activity. Overall, fit patients presented significantly lower values in all body composition parameters compared to unfit patients (all, p
< 0.05). Conclusions:
The main findings of the present study suggest that physical fitness is inversely associated with body composition in women with SLE. Given the cross-sectional nature of this study, future clinical trials should study the causal pathways underlying these relationships.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.