Send to

Choose Destination
Bone. 2015 Nov;80:126-130. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2015.04.016. Epub 2015 Apr 14.

Osteoporosis and sarcopenia in older age.

Author information

MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, UK.
MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, UK; Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand.
Nutrition, Exercise Physiology and Sarcopenia Laboratory, Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, MA, USA.
MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, UK; NIHR Musculoskeletal Biomedical Research Unit, Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Science, University of Oxford, Oxford OX3 5UG, UK; NIHR Nutrition Biomedical Research Centre, University of Southampton and University Hospital Southampton NHS Trust, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton SO16 6YD, UK. Electronic address:


Osteoporosis and sarcopenia are common in older age and associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Consequently, they are both attended by a considerable socioeconomic burden. Osteoporosis was defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 1994 as a bone mineral density of less than 2.5 standard deviations below the sex-specific young adult mean and this characterisation has been adopted globally. Subsequently, a further step forward was taken when bone mineral density was incorporated into fracture risk prediction algorithms, such as the Fracture Risk Assessment Tool (FRAX®) also developed by the WHO. In contrast, for sarcopenia there have been several diagnostic criteria suggested, initially relating to low muscle mass alone and more recently low muscle mass and muscle function. However, none of these have been universally accepted. This has led to difficulties in accurately delineating the burden of disease, exploring geographic differences, and recruiting appropriate subjects to clinical trials. There is also uncertainty about how improvement in sarcopenia should be measured in pharmaceutical trials. Reasons for these difficulties include the number of facets of muscle health available, e.g. mass, strength, function, and performance, and the various clinical outcomes to which sarcopenia can be related such as falls, fracture, disability and premature mortality. It is imperative that a universal definition of sarcopenia is reached soon to facilitate greater progress in research into this debilitating condition. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled "Muscle Bone Interactions".


Bone; Definition; Epidemiology; Muscle; Osteoporosis; Sarcopenia

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center