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Clin Geriatr Med. 2015 Feb;31(1):41-9, vii-viii. doi: 10.1016/j.cger.2014.08.020. Epub 2014 Oct 7.

The effect of type 2 diabetes on body composition of older adults.

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Department of Social Medicine, CAPHRI School for Public Health and Primary Care, Maastricht University, PO Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands. Electronic address:
Department of Health Sciences, Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences, VU University Amsterdam, de Boelelaan 1085, 1081 HV, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


This review describes the effect of type 2 diabetes on fat mass, fat distribution, and lean mass, and changes in these parameters, in older adults, focusing on observational studies. Studies show that type 2 diabetes is associated with an unfavorable body composition characterized by more visceral fat, less thigh subcutaneous fat, and more fat infiltration in the muscle compared with persons without the disease. Longitudinal studies found an accelerated decline in muscle mass in older persons with type 2 diabetes. Studies are needed to examine the consequences of these changes in body composition on physical functioning, morbidity, and mortality risk.


Body composition; Body fat distribution; Diabetes mellitus; Muscle mass; Older adults

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