Prevalence of sarcopenia and sarcopenic obesity in the Korean population based on the Fourth Korean National Health and Nutritional Examination Surveys

Young-Sang Kim, Yunhwan Lee, Yoon-Sok Chung, Duck-Joo Lee, Nam-Seok Joo, Doohee Hong, Go eun Song, Hyeon-Jeong Kim, Yong Jun Choi, Kwang-Min Kim
Journals of Gerontology. Series A, Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences 2012, 67 (10): 1107-13

BACKGROUND: Sarcopenia is an important factor of functional impairment related to aging. This study is conducted to investigate the prevalence of sarcopenia and sarcopenic obesity in Korean population.

METHODS: Representative Korean men (4,486) and women (5,999) aged 20 years or older were analyzed from the Fourth Korean National Health and Nutritional Examination Surveys. Sarcopenia was classified into Class I defined relative skeletal muscle mass loss within 1-2 SD of the gender-specific mean for healthy young adults and Class II below 2 SD. Relative skeletal muscle mass was represented by the appendicular skeletal muscle mass adjusted by height and body weight. Sarcopenic obesity was considered present in Class II sarcopenic participants whose waist circumference was more than or equal to 90 cm for men and more than or equal to 85 cm for women, respectively.

RESULTS: The prevalence of Class II sarcopenia in the Korean elderly population was 12.4% for men and 0.1% for women by height-adjusted definition and 9.7% for men and 11.8% for women by weight-adjusted definition. The prevalence of sarcopenic obesity was 7.6% for men and 9.1% for women by weight-adjusted definition but nearly zero for men and women by height-adjusted definition. The prevalence of sarcopenia increased with age for men but for women only when applied with weight-adjusted definition.

CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of sarcopenia and sarcopenic obesity differs by gender and definition criteria. The height-adjusted definition may tend to underestimate the prevalence of sarcopenia and sarcopenic obesity, especially in women.

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