Association between sarcopenia and mortality in healthy older people


Dr Daniel Bunout, Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology, University of Chile. Email:


Aim:  To evaluate the association between loss of fat-free mass and mortality among older people.

Methods:  Information of healthy Chilean older people evaluated by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry was used, identifying those who died in a period of 12 years. A Cox proportional hazards model was used to identify mortality predictors. Life tables were constructed calculating survival using predictive variables.

Results:  Information from 1413 participants aged 74.3 ± 5.6 years (1001 women), was obtained. During the follow-up (median 1594 days), 221 participants died. The Cox model identified age and appendicular fat-free mass as predictors of death (hazard ratios 1.08 and 0.85, respectively). According to life tables, participants in the lower sex-specific quartile for appendicular fat-free mass/height had significantly higher mortality. This association was significant among participants aged over 73 years.

Conclusion:  A low fat-free mass was predictive of mortality in older people.