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Variation in the Prevalence of Sarcopenia and Sarcopenic Obesity in Older Adults Associated with Different Research Definitions: Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999–2004

Authors

  • John A. Batsis MD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Center for Health and Aging, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire
    2. Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire
    3. Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire
    • Section of General Internal Medicine, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, New Hampshire
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  • Laura K. Barre MD,

    1. Center for Health and Aging, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire
    2. Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire
    3. Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire
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  • Todd A. Mackenzie PhD,

    1. Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire
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  • Sarah I. Pratt PhD,

    1. Center for Health and Aging, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire
    2. Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire
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  • Francisco Lopez-Jimenez MD, MSc,

    1. Division of Cardiovascular Diseases, Department of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
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  • Stephen J. Bartels MD, MS

    1. Center for Health and Aging, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire
    2. Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire
    3. Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire
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Address correspondence to John A. Batsis, Section of General Internal Medicine, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, 1 Medical Center Drive, Lebanon, NH 03756. E-mail: John.Batsis@gmail.com

Abstract

Objectives

To determine the prevalence range for sarcopenic obesity and its relationship with sex, age, and ethnicity.

Design

Cross-sectional analysis of a population-based sample.

Setting

Noninstitutionalized persons in the United States participating in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys 1999–2004.

Participants

Subsample of 4,984 subjects aged 60 and older with dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry body composition data.

Measurements

Eight definitions of sarcopenic obesity identified from six studies found using a systematic literature review (Baumgartner, Bouchard, Davison, Zoico, Levine, Kim-1,2,3) were applied to the sample. Results were stratified according to sex, age, and ethnicity.

Results

Prevalence of sarcopenic obesity ranged from 4.4% to 84.0% in men and from 3.6% to 94.0% in women. Prevalence was higher in men using definitions from Baumgartner (17.9% vs 13.3%, P < .001), Levine (14.2% vs 6.6%, P < .001), and Kim-1 (30.0% vs 9.3%, P < .001); lower for men using the Davison (4.4% vs 11.1%, P < .001) and Kim-2 (83.7% vs 94.0%) definitions; and the same for men and women using the Bouchard (45.3% vs 44.3%, P = .32) and Kim-3 (75.6% vs 77.0%, P = .51) definitions. For all but one definition, sarcopenic obesity increased with each decade and was lower in non-Hispanic blacks than whites.

Conclusion

Prevalence of sarcopenic obesity in older adults varies up to 26-fold depending on current research definitions. Such a high degree of variability suggests the need to establish consensus criteria that can be reliably applied across clinical and research settings.

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