Sarcopenia in Asia: Consensus Report of the Asian Working Group for Sarcopenia


      Sarcopenia, a newly recognized geriatric syndrome, is characterized by age-related decline of skeletal muscle plus low muscle strength and/or physical performance. Previous studies have confirmed the association of sarcopenia and adverse health outcomes, such as falls, disability, hospital admission, long term care placement, poorer quality of life, and mortality, which denotes the importance of sarcopenia in the health care for older people. Despite the clinical significance of sarcopenia, the operational definition of sarcopenia and standardized intervention programs are still lacking. It is generally agreed by the different working groups for sarcopenia in the world that sarcopenia should be defined through a combined approach of muscle mass and muscle quality, however, selecting appropriate diagnostic cutoff values for all the measurements in Asian populations is challenging. Asia is a rapidly aging region with a huge population, so the impact of sarcopenia to this region is estimated to be huge as well. Asian Working Group for Sarcopenia (AWGS) aimed to promote sarcopenia research in Asia, and we collected the best available evidences of sarcopenia researches from Asian countries to establish the consensus for sarcopenia diagnosis. AWGS has agreed with the previous reports that sarcopenia should be described as low muscle mass plus low muscle strength and/or low physical performance, and we also recommend outcome indicators for further researches, as well as the conditions that sarcopenia should be assessed. In addition to sarcopenia screening for community-dwelling older people, AWGS recommends sarcopenia assessment in certain clinical conditions and healthcare settings to facilitate implementing sarcopenia in clinical practice. Moreover, we also recommend cutoff values for muscle mass measurements (7.0 kg/m2 for men and 5.4 kg/m2 for women by using dual X-ray absorptiometry, and 7.0 kg/m2 for men and 5.7 kg/m2 for women by using bioimpedance analysis), handgrip strength (<26 kg for men and <18 kg for women), and usual gait speed (<0.8 m/s). However, a number of challenges remained to be solved in the future. Asia is made up of a great number of ethnicities. The majority of currently available studies have been published from eastern Asia, therefore, more studies of sarcopenia in south, southeastern, and western Asia should be promoted. On the other hand, most Asian studies have been conducted in a cross-sectional design and few longitudinal studies have not necessarily collected the commonly used outcome indicators as other reports from Western countries. Nevertheless, the AWGS consensus report is believed to promote more Asian sarcopenia research, and most important of all, to focus on sarcopenia intervention studies and the implementation of sarcopenia in clinical practice to improve health care outcomes of older people in the communities and the healthcare settings in Asia.


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