Background: Decline in physical activity and functioning is commonly observed in the older population and might be associated with biomarkers such as advanced glycation end products (AGEs). AGEs contribute to age-related decline in the function of cells and tissues in normal aging and have been found to be associated with motor function decline. The aim of this study is to investigate the association between the levels of AGEs, as assessed by skin autofluorescence, and the amount of physical activity and loss of physical functioning in older participants.
Methods: Cross-sectional data of 5,624 participants aged 65 years and older from the LifeLines Cohort Study were used. Linear regression analyses were utilized to study the associations between skin autofluorescence/AGE levels (AGE Reader), the number of physically active days (SQUASH), and physical functioning (RAND-36). A logistic regression analysis was used to study the associations between AGE levels and the compliance with the Dutch physical activity guidelines (SQUASH).
Results: A statistical significant association between AGE levels and the number of physically active days (β = -0.21, 95% confidence interval: -0.35 to -0.07, p = .004), physical functioning (β = -1.60, 95% confidence interval: -2.64 to -0.54, p = .003), and compliance with the Dutch physical activity guidelines (odds ratio = 0.76, 95% confidence interval: 0.62 to 0.94, p = .010) was revealed.
Conclusions: This study indicates that high AGE levels may be a contributing factor as well as a biomarker for lower levels of physical activity and functioning in the older population.