• sarcopenia;
  • metabolic risk;
  • overweight/obese;
  • aging;
  • cardiovascular disease


Objective: To compare sarcopenic-obese and obese postmenopausal women for risk factors predisposing to cardiovascular disease (CVD) and determine whether there may be a relationship between muscle mass and metabolic risk in obese postmenopausal women.

Research Methods and Procedures: In this cross-sectional study, 22 healthy obese postmenopausal women (mean age, 66 ± 5 years; mean BMI, 27 ± 3 kg/m2) were divided into two groups matched for age (±2 years) and fat mass (FM) (±2%). Sarcopenia was defined as a muscle mass index of <14.30 kg fat-free mass (FFM)/m2 (which corresponds to 1 standard deviation below the values of a young reference population), and obesity was defined as an FM of >35% (which corresponds to the World Health Organization guidelines). FM, FFM (measured by DXA), daily energy expenditure (accelerometry), dietary intake (3-day dietary record), and blood biochemical analyses (lipid profile, insulin, glucose, and C-reactive protein) were obtained. Visceral fat mass (VFM) was calculated by the equation of Bertin, which estimates VFM from DXA measurements.

Results: Obese women had more FFM (p = 0.006), abdominal FM (p = 0.047), and VFM (p = 0.041) and a worse lipid profile [p = 0.040 for triglycerides; p = 0.004 for high-density lipoprotein (HDL); p = 0.026 for total cholesterol/HDL] than sarcopenic-obese postmenopausal women. Obese women also ingested significantly more animal (p = 0.001) and less vegetal proteins (p = 0.013), although both groups had a similar total protein intake (p = 0.967).

Discussion: Sarcopenia seems to be associated with lower risk factors predisposing to CVD in obese postmenopausal women. With the increase in the number of aging people, the health implications of being sarcopenic-obese merit more attention.