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J Bone Metab. 2018 Feb;25(1):53-58. doi: 10.11005/jbm.2018.25.1.53. Epub 2018 Feb 28.

Sarcopenic Obesity in Elderly Korean Women: A Nationwide Cross-sectional Study.

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Department of Neurology, College of Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, National Medical Center, Seoul, Korea.



Sarcopenia causes loss of muscle mass in the elderly and is associated with development of metabolic syndrome in those with obesity. This study evaluated the prevalence of sarcopenic obesity (SO) in healthy Korean elderly women.


This study was based on data from the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey IV and V, 2008-2011. Whole body dual energy X-ray absorptiometry and body mass index measurement were performed for all patients. Women aged 65 years or older were included in this study. Total appendicular extremity muscle mass was used to determine the skeletal muscle mass index.


Of 2,396 women aged 65 years or older, a total of 1,491 (62.2%) were underweight, normal weight, or overweight, while 905 (37.8%) were obese. The prevalence of sarcopenia using a cut-off value of 5.4 kg/m2 was 64.9% (63/97) in underweight women, 38.2% (320/838) in normal weight women, 17.1% (95/556) in overweight women, and 6.1% (55/905) in obese women.


The prevalence of sarcopenia was different among groups. The prevalence rate in obese women was lower than that in non-obese women. SO is a new category of obesity in older adults with high adiposity coupled with low muscle mass. The prevalence of SO was lower than that in previous studies because of differences in the definition. A consensus definition of SO needs to be established.


Body mass index; Korea; Obesity; Sarcopenia; Women

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