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BackgroundIn Sub-Saharan Africa, the prevalence of obesity, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and impaired physical function are increasing due to rapid urbanization. We investigated sex differences in associations between cardiac workload, arterial stiffness, peripheral vascular calcification (PVC) and physical function in Gambian adults.MethodsA total of 488 Gambians aged 40-75+ years were recruited (men: 239; and women: 249). Supine blood pressure and heart rate were measured to calculate rate pressure product and pulse pressure. Presence of PVC was determined from tibia peripheral quantitative computed tomography scans. Physical function was assessed by chair rise test (CRT), single two-legged jump (s2LJ) and hand grip strength (HGS). Body composition was measured by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry; body size corrections were used to calculate fat mass index (FMI) and appendicular lean mass index (ALMI). Estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) was measured from fasting blood samples. The relationship between rate pressure product, pulse pressure or presence of PVC (independent variable) with physical function parameters (dependent variable) was tested using linear regression. Sex-interactions were tested (p-int) adjusting for age, eGFR and ALMI/FMI. Results were expressed as mean differences between men and women with 95% confidence intervals. Mediation analyses used ALMI/FMI as mediator.ResultsWomen weighed less (54.7 kg ± 10.3 vs. 59.9 kg ± 10.3) and were shorter (157.8 cm ± 6.0 vs. 169.2 cm ± 7.0) compared with men (both P 2  ± 2.9 vs. 2.9 kg/m2  ± 2.0, P 2  ± 133.1 vs. 237.6 mL/min/1.73 m2  ± 134.6), but lower ALMI (6.2 kg/m2  ± 0.7 vs. 8.02 kg/m2  ± 1.0, P ConclusionsMultiple risk factors for CVD were associated with poorer physical function in men and were mediated by FMI. There is a need to identify strategies to slow/prevent the rising CVD burden and poor physical function in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of cachexia, sarcopenia and muscle

Publication Date



Department of Medicine, School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia.