The journal of nutrition, health & aging

, Volume 15, Issue 10, pp 847–851

Are current definitions of sarcopenia applicable for older Chinese adults?


    • Department of Physical EducationZhejiang University
    • Department of Physical EducationZhejiang University
  • M. Wang
    • China Institute of Sports Science
  • C. -M. Jiang
    • China Institute of Sports Science
  • Y. -M. Zhang
    • Beijing Sport University
JNHA: Sarcopenia Frailty and Performance

DOI: 10.1007/s12603-011-0088-3

Cite this article as:
Wen, X., Wang, M., Jiang, C.-. et al. J Nutr Health Aging (2011) 15: 847. doi:10.1007/s12603-011-0088-3


This study aims to explore whether the current definitions of sarcopenia are applicable to the older Chinese population. Participants were 783 Chinese adults recruited from four regions in Mainland China: Jinan, Guangzhou, Xi’an, and Chengdu. Body composition was measured by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry. Handgrip strength, body weight, and height were measured by trained technicians, and demographic data were collected through questionnaires. Relative appendicular skeletal muscle, skeletal muscle index (SMI=100 × skeletal muscle mass/body mass) and residuals methods were applied to identify sarcopenia. Compared with young adults, no significant decrease was found in the relative appendicular skeletal muscle (ASM/height2) in older adults. If the criterion of two standard deviations below the mean value of ASM/height2 in young adults is used, none of older adults in this study could be diagnosed with sarcopenia. In addition, compared with the ASM/height2 and residuals methods, SMI shows higher discriminating power in the identifying persons with low handgrip strength. The data suggest that ASM/height2 method may not be appropriate for diagnosis of sarcopenia in Chinese population. However, whether SMI is a better choice remains inconclusive. Prospective studies are needed to clearly define sarcopenia in Chinese population.

Key words

Sarcopeniaaginghandgripappendicular skeletal muscle

Copyright information

© Serdi and Springer Verlag France 2011