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Research project

Musculoskeletal functional ability in three diverse Sub-Saharan Africa Populations: Prevalence, Nutritional Risk Factors and Implementable Solutions for better muscle health

Project overview

Loss of muscle strength and function is a common manifestation of ageing (known as sarcopenia), which leads to falls and fragility fractures (broken bones from low impact injuries), disability, frailty, and sometimes death. Despite this, little is known about how muscle ages in people living in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), nor the risk factors for muscle loss or the impact on quality of life. We will study three different populations in The Gambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. MUFASSA is an international cross-sectional study set across three countries in SSA, which broadly aims to assess muscle strength & function to understand healthy ageing. It is a 4 year project, which started in January 2022. More specifically MUFASSA aims to:i. Calculate how commonly muscle strength is impaired, physical functional is limited and muscle loss is experienced. ii. Understand to what extent losses in muscle strength and ability reduce the ability to perform activities of daily life, increase the risk of frailty and disability and how these impact quality of life. iii. Identify clinical, nutritional and metabolic risk factors for losses muscle function, to inform approaches to reduce future disability, and promote healthy ageing in SSA.


Lead researcher

Professor Kate Ward

Professor in Global M/skeletal Health
Connect with Kate
Other researchers

Professor Cyrus Cooper

Prof Rheumatology Clinical Epidemiology

Research interests

  • Key research contributions have been:
  • discovery of the developmental influences which contribute to the risk of osteoporosis and hip fracture in late adulthood
  • demonstration that maternal vitamin D insufficiency is associated with sub-optimal bone mineral accrual in childhood
Connect with Cyrus

Dr Jonathan Swann

Professor of Biomolecular Medicine
Connect with Jonathan

Collaborating research institutes, centres and groups

Research outputs

Tafadzwa Madanhire, Julia H. Goedecke, Kate A. Ward, Nicole Jaff, Nigel J. Crowther, Shane Norris, Rashida A. Ferrand, Andrea M. Rehman, Lisa K. Micklesfield & Celia L. Gregson, 2022, Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 38(5), 619-630
Type: article
Cynthia Mukwasi-Kahari, Andrea M. Rehman, Mícheál Ó Breasail, Ruramayi Rukuni, Tafadzwa Madanhire, Joseph Chipanga, Lynda Stranix-Chibanda, Lisa K. Micklesfield, Rashida A. Ferrand, Kate A. Ward & Celia L. Gregson, 2022, Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 38(2), 248-260
Type: article
Mícheál Ó Breasail, Camille Parsons, Ayse Zengin, Landing Jarjou, Cyrus Cooper, Peter R Ebeling, Ann Prentice & Kate A Ward, 2022, Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 38(1), 48-58
Type: article
Nicholas Harvey, Peter Clegg, Elaine Dennison, Paul Greenhaff, Simon J. Griffin, Celia L. Gregson, Malcom J. Jackson, Janet M. Lord, Eugene V. McCloskey, Emma J. Stevenson, Jonathan H. Tobias, Kate Ward & Cyrus Cooper, 2022, Archives of Osteoporosis, 17(1)
Type: article
Mícheál Ó Breasail, Celia L. Gregson, Shane A. Norris, Tafadzwa Madanhire, Nicole Jaff, Nigel J. Crowther, Lisa K. Micklesfield & Kate A. Ward, 2022, Bone, 164
Type: article