Skip Navigation

HHS HealthBeat (March 28, 2013)

Thigh fat and walking

HealthBeat: Two adults walking with bike.

Take the Next Step
Stay Active

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

Researchers think they have an early indication of when otherwise healthy older adults are about to lose some of their ability to get around, and it’s thigh fat.

At Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Kristen Beavers looked at data on how changes in muscle and fat in the thighs affected the walking speed of about 2,300 people in their 70s.

“Increasing levels of fat in and around the thigh muscle itself were associated with slowed walking speed in otherwise healthy older adults.”

Walking speed is only part of a larger picture, though. Beavers says other studies indicate slowing walking speed can indicate other physical problems, and so can be a sign of disability developing.

The study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Learn more at

HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: March 28, 2013