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Metabolism. 2019 Oct;99:102-112. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2019.153949. Epub 2019 Jul 23.

Metabolic implications of low muscle mass in the pediatric population: a critical review.

Author information

1
Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, 4-002 Li Ka Shing Centre for Health and Research, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2E1, Canada.
2
Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, 4-002 Li Ka Shing Centre for Health and Research, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2E1, Canada; Faculty of Pharmacy, Department of Food Science, Federal University of Minas Gerais, 6627 Presidente Antônio Carlos Avenue, Belo Horizonte, MG 31270-901, Brazil.
3
Department of Kinesiology, California State University, 800 N. State College Blvd, Fullerton, CA 92834, USA.
4
Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, 4-126C Li Ka Shing Centre for Health and Research, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2E1, Canada.
5
Pennington Biomedical Research Center Baton Rouge, 6400 Perkins Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70808, USA.
6
Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, 4-002 Li Ka Shing Centre for Health and Research, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2E1, Canada; Department of Pediatrics, University of Alberta, 1C4.09 Walter C. Mackenzie Centre, 8440-112 Street NW, Edmonton, AB T6G 2R7, Canada. Electronic address: haqq@ualberta.ca.

Abstract

Skeletal muscle is recognized as a tissue with high metabolic capacity given its key roles in glucose and lipid metabolism. Although low muscle mass has been associated with metabolic disorders in adults, it is not clear if this body composition phenotype is related to metabolic health status earlier in life. In this review, we aim to clarify whether having low muscle mass is associated with increased risk of metabolic dysregulation in the pediatric population. Fifteen original articles investigating the relationship between body composition measures of muscle mass and single or clustered metabolic risk factors in children and adolescents were critically evaluated. Despite a growing body of evidence supporting low muscle mass as a risk factor for metabolic health in children and adolescents, conflicting associations were reported. Differences in body composition techniques, muscle mass indices, and clinical methods used to assess metabolic biomarkers may have contributed to a lack of a consistent conclusion. Moreover, most studies did not control for potential biological and lifestyle confounders. Future studies using precise, reproducible techniques to evaluate body composition and metabolic biomarkers are required to determine the implications of low muscle mass on metabolic health during childhood and adolescence.

KEYWORDS:

Body composition; Children; Metabolic dysregulation; Muscle mass

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