Background: Sarcopenia, i.e., the decline of skeletal muscle tissue with age, is a key cause of functional deterioration and loss of independence in older adults, and increases the risks of fall, hospitalization, and mortality; it requires active prevention and management of sarcopenia in community-dwelling older adults. Existing diagnostic criteria for sarcopenia have typically been developed for European populations and may not be applicable to Asian populations. The present study aimed to identify the prevalence of sarcopenia in community-dwelling Korean older adults, and validate two simplified diagnostic algorithms based on the Asian Working Group for Sarcopenia (AWGS) algorithm for identifying sarcopenia.
Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted on 388 community-dwelling older adults (254 women and 134 men, with a mean age of 77.8 ± 6.26 years [range, 65‒93 years]), from a rural area in Korea. Muscle strength was measured by hand grip strength, physical performance by gait speed, and muscle mass by skeletal muscle mass index (SMI). Sarcopenia was assessed using the AWGS-recommended algorithm as well as two simplified algorithms (A and B). Algorithms A and B were validated with respect to the AWGS-recommended algorithm using the chi-square test, and the sensitivity and specificity were obtained.
Results: The prevalence of sarcopenia, determined using the AWGS-recommended algorithm, was 41.7% and 40.3% in men and women, respectively. The overall prevalence of sarcopenia was 39.2% by the AWGS-recommended algorithm, 37.6% by algorithm A, and 37.6% by algorithm B; 137 participants were classified as sarcopenia by all three methods (p = .223).
Conclusion: We established the prevalence of sarcopenia among rural community-dwelling adults in Korea and confirmed that the simplified algorithms were suitable for identification of sarcopenia in rural community-dwelling older adults in Korea. Further studies are needed to assess whether these simplified algorithms are also applicable to older Asian adults with functional and/or cognitive impairment, as well as nursing home residents.