Sarcopenia and Sarcopenic Obesity Assessment in the US Older Population
Using 2006-2016 Health and Retirement Study (HRS) data, this pilot examines the development of sarcopenia and sarcopenic obesity, and the correlating functional limitations in the rapidly growing population of older aged adults in the U.S. The aging process is accompanied by physiological changes that include body composition transitions such as the decrease in skeletal muscle mass (SMM) and increase in fat mass. SMM constitutes almost half of total body mass and is related to body function, mobility and basic metabolic functions. The next step of muscle mass decline is sarcopenia and sarcopenic obesity. Sarcopenia is characterized by decline in muscle mass, muscle strength (power) and physical performance, while sarcopenic obesity refers to the coexistence of sarcopenia and high accumulation of fat mass. The maintenance of muscle mass and strength in older adults has been reported to be one of the most important factors for independent living.
This pilot study longitudinally evaluates these physiological changes, focusing on the determinants, patterns and effects of sarcopenia and sarcopenic obesity on older adult disability. Findings expand the current methodology for a global evaluation of sarcopenia in older populations, and provide helpful information for societies as they adapt and shift to more age- and disability- friendly environments.