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Clin Interv Aging. 2015 Aug 6;10:1267-82. doi: 10.2147/CIA.S82454. eCollection 2015.

Sarcopenic obesity and complex interventions with nutrition and exercise in community-dwelling older persons--a narrative review.

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Institute for Biomedicine of Aging (IBA), Friedrich-Alexander-Universität (FAU) Erlangen-Nürnberg, Nuremberg, Germany.
Institute of Medical Physics (IMP), Friedrich-Alexander-Universität (FAU) Erlangen-Nürnberg, Erlangen, Germany.
Nutricia GmbH, Danone Medical Nutrition, Erlangen, Germany.
Institute for Biomedicine of Aging (IBA), Friedrich-Alexander-Universität (FAU) Erlangen-Nürnberg, Nuremberg, Germany ; Department of Internal Medicine and Geriatrics, St John of God Hospital (Barmherzige Brüder), Regensburg, Germany.


One of the many threats to independent life is the age-related loss of muscle mass and muscle function commonly referred to as sarcopenia. Another important health risk in old age leading to functional decline is obesity. Obesity prevalence in older persons is increasing, and like sarcopenia, severe obesity has been consistently associated with several negative health outcomes, disabilities, falls, and mobility limitations. Both sarcopenia and obesity pose a health risk for older persons per se, but in combination, they synergistically increase the risk for negative health outcomes and an earlier onset of disability. This combination of sarcopenia and obesity is commonly referred to as sarcopenic obesity. The present narrative review reports the current knowledge on the effects of complex interventions containing nutrition and exercise interventions in community-dwelling older persons with sarcopenic obesity. To date, several complex interventions with different outcomes have been conducted and have shown promise in counteracting either sarcopenia or obesity, but only a few studies have addressed the complex syndrome of sarcopenic obesity. Strong evidence exists on exercise interventions in sarcopenia, especially on strength training, and for obese older persons, strength exercise in combination with a dietary weight loss intervention demonstrated positive effects on muscle function and body fat. The differences in study protocols and target populations make it impossible at the moment to extract data for a meta-analysis or give state-of-the-art recommendations based on reliable evidence. A conclusion that can be drawn from this narrative review is that more exercise programs containing strength and aerobic exercise in combination with dietary interventions including a supervised weight loss program and/or protein supplements should be conducted in order to investigate possible positive effects on sarcopenic obesity.


exercise; function; mobility; nutrition; obesity; review; sarcopenia; weight loss diets

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