Background: Here, we aimed to investigate the correlation between spinal sarcopenia, spinal sagittal balance (SSB), and spinal function in older women living in rural areas versus those of urban older women in our previous study.
Methods: Twenty-five older rural-dwelling women aged 70+ years were compared with 24 urban-dwelling older women from our previous study. Demographic variables, conventional and spinal sarcopenic indices, variable functional outcome parameters, occupational state, and exercise participation rate were evaluated. We also measured the isometric back extensor strength, radiological parameters for SSB on whole-spine radiography, and volumetric parameters of the lumbar extensor muscle on computed tomography.
Results: There were no significant intergroup differences in demographic variables or the prevalence of sarcopenia. Older women in rural areas had greater handgrip strength than those in urban areas (22.7 ± 3.7 kg vs. 20.0 ± 3.4 kg, P = 0.010). However, their mean lumbar lordosis angle was lower (31.7 ± 15.3° vs. 42.3 ± 11.2°, P = 0.012). Isometric back extensor strength was lower in rural women than in urban women. The vocational activity participation rate of rural women was significantly higher (84% vs. 12.5%, P < 0.001), whereas their exercise participation rate was significantly lower (60% vs. 92%, P < 0.001).
Conclusions: Older women in rural areas had greater handgrip strength and vocational participation rates but lower back extensor strength and exercise participation rates. Therefore, more attention for health care services is needed to support their spinal health and exercise habits.