Sex-, Age-, and Ethnicity-Dependent Variation in Body Composition: Can There Be a Single Cutoff?

  • Maria Cristina Gonzalez
  • Jingjie Xiao
  • Ilana Roitman Disi


Among all the body compartments, muscle stands as an important prognostic factor in clinical settings. Several factors may determine the body composition variability, such as age, sex, and ethnicity. Muscle mass gradually declines with normal aging, and the rate of decline can be influenced by sex and ethnicity. In general, men have a higher muscularity than women, and the amount of muscle mass differs among the ethnicities (African American > White > Hispanic > Asian). Several body composition analysis techniques can be used for muscle mass assessment. Low muscularity is usually defined as muscle mass below the normative values of a healthy young population or values that are associated with a higher risk for negative outcomes in clinical situations. The association between muscle and adverse health outcomes may be jeopardized if sex, age, and ethnic specific cutoff values are not used to identify low muscularity.


Body composition assessment Muscle mass Sarcopenia Normative vales Cirrhosis 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Cristina Gonzalez
    • 1
  • Jingjie Xiao
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Ilana Roitman Disi
    • 5
  1. 1.Catholic University of PelotasPelotasBrazil
  2. 2.Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional ScienceUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  3. 3.Division of Palliative Care Medicine, Department of OncologyUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  4. 4.Covenant Health Palliative InstituteEdmontonCanada
  5. 5.Division of Anesthesia, Faculty of Medicine Foundation of the University of Sao Paulo, Cancer Institute of Sao PauloSao PauloBrazil

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