The journal of nutrition, health & aging

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 248–255 | Cite as

Associations of low muscle mass and the metabolic syndrome in Caucasian and Asian middle-aged and older adults

  • D. Scott
  • M. S. Park
  • T. N. Kim
  • J. Y. Ryu
  • H. C. Hong
  • H. J. Yoo
  • S. H. Baik
  • G. Jones
  • Kyung Mook  ChoiEmail author



Age-related declines in skeletal muscle mass may confer significant metabolic consequences for older adults. Associations of low muscle mass and metabolic syndrome (MetS) in Caucasians, and comparisons with associations observed in Asian populations, have not been reported. We examined associations of low muscle mass and metabolic syndrome (MetS) in Asian and Caucasian middle-aged and older men and women using criteria for low muscle mass.

Design, Setting and Participants

Two population-based studies of Australian (Tasmanian Older Adult Cohort Study; TASOAC; N=1005) and Korean (Korean Sarcopenic Obesity Study; KSOS; N=376) community-dwelling adults, mean age 62 and 58 years, respectively.


Appendicular lean mass (aLM) determined by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and normalised to height squared (aLM/Ht2), weight (aLM/Wt) or body mass index (aLM/BMI). Participants in the lowest sex-specific 20% for aLM measures were defined as having low muscle mass. MetS was defined according to National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III criteria.


Although Australians demonstrated generally unfavourable anthropometric and metabolic characteristics compared to Koreans, prevalence of MetS was similar (29.5% in Australians and 31.4% in Koreans, respectively). Low aLM/Ht2 was associated with significantly reduced likelihood of MetS in both Australians (OR: 0.30, 95% CI 0.19 - 0.46) and Koreans (OR: 0.31, 95% CI 0.16 – 0.62). Conversely, low aLM/BMI was associated with increased odds for MetS in Australians (OR: 1.78, 95% CI 1.12–2.84), but not Koreans (OR: 1.33, 95% CI = 0.67–2.64).


Low aLM/BMI is associated with significantly increased likelihood of MetS in Australian adults, but not Koreans, suggesting potential differences in effects of low muscle mass relative to body mass on cardiometabolic health in Caucasian and Asian middle-aged and older adults. Low muscle mass relative to height is associated with reduced likelihood of MetS in both populations.


Muscle mass metabolic syndrome aging sarcopenia 


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Copyright information

© Serdi and Springer-Verlag France 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Scott
    • 1
    • 2
  • M. S. Park
    • 3
  • T. N. Kim
    • 4
    • 5
  • J. Y. Ryu
    • 4
  • H. C. Hong
    • 4
  • H. J. Yoo
    • 4
  • S. H. Baik
    • 4
  • G. Jones
    • 6
  • Kyung Mook  Choi
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Medicine, School of Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health SciencesMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia
  2. 2.Department of MedicineThe University of MelbourneSt AlbansAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Statistics, College of Natural SciencesSungshin Women’s UniversitySeoulKorea
  4. 4.Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal MedicineKorea University Guro HospitalSeoulKorea
  5. 5.Department of Internal Medicine, Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disease Center, College of MedicineInje UniversityBusanKorea
  6. 6.Menzies Research InstituteUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia

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