Prevalence of sarcopenia and sarcopenic obesity in Korean adults: The Korean sarcopenic obesity study

T. N. Kim, S. J. Yang, H. J. Yoo, K. I. Lim, H. J. Kang, W. Song, J. A. Seo, S. G. Kim, N. H. Kim, S. H. Baik, D. S. Choi, K. M. Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

259 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: To examine the prevalence of sarcopenia and sarcopenic obesity (SO) as defined by different indices, including appendicular skeletal muscle mass (ASM)/height2, skeletal muscle mass index (SMI) and residuals for Korean adults, and to explore the association between SO and metabolic syndrome. Methods: Our study sample included 526 participants (328 women, 198 men) for whom complete data on body composition were collected using available dual X-ray absorptiometry. Modified National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III criteria were used to identify the individuals with metabolic syndrome. Results: The prevalence of sarcopenia and SO is higher in older adults. Using two s.d. of ASM/height2 below reference values from young, healthy adults as a definition of sarcopenia, the prevalence of sarcopenia and SO was 6.3% and 1.3% in older (≥60 years) men and 4.1% and 0.8% in older women, respectively. The prevalence of sarcopenia using the residuals method was 15.4% in older men and 22.3% in older women. In addition, using two s.d. of SMI, the prevalence of sarcopenia and SO was 5.1% and 5.1%, respectively, in older men and 14.2% and 12.5%, respectively, in older women. Among women, SO subjects defined by the SMI had three times the risk of metabolic syndrome (odds ratios (OR)=3.24, 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.21-8.66) and non-sarcopenic obese subjects had approximately twice the risk of metabolic syndrome (OR=2.17, 95% CI=1.22-3.88) compared with normal subjects. Similar trends were observed in men. Conclusion: The prevalence and cutoff values of sarcopenia and SO in the Korean population were evaluated using different methods. Among the different indices of sarcopenia and SO, SO only defined using the SMI was associated with the risk of metabolic syndrome. As the Korean population gets older and more obese, the problematics of SO need to be elucidate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)885-892
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Obesity
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Aug

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by Korea Science and Engineering Foundation (KOSEF) grant funded by the Korean government (R01-2007-000-20546-0) and a grant from the Korean Health 21 R&D Project, Ministry of Health & Welfare, Republic of Korea (A 050463).

Funding Information:
This study is part of the Korean SO Study (KSOS), which is an ongoing epidemiologic study supported by the Korea Science and Engineering Foundation. This is a prospective, observational cohort study including a total of 591 healthy volunteers 20–88 years of age, who were recruited between September 2007 and August 2008 in Seoul, Korea. The KSOS was intended to examine the prevalence of SO in Korean adults and to evaluate the effects of SO on metabolic disorders and predict likely health outcomes. None of the participants had a history of cardiovascular disease (myocardial infarction, unstable angina, stroke, or cardiovascular revascularization), any type of diabetes, stage 2 hypertension (resting blood pressure, X160/100 mm Hg), malignant disease, severe renal, or hepatic disease. Subjects taking medications that might affect body weight or body composition were excluded. Analyses were conducted on 526 participants (328 women, 198 men) who had complete data available on body composition. Among them, young healthy volunteers (aged 20–40; 145 subjects; 54 men, 91 women) were included in a sex-specific young reference group. All participants provided written informed consent, and in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki of the World Medical Association, the Korea University Institutional Review Board approved this study protocol.


  • Aging
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Prevalence
  • Sarcopenia
  • Skeletal muscle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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