Screening for sarcopenia and sarcopenic obesity in older adults in the community and investigating its association with protein intake
Sinclair, L. (2015) Screening for sarcopenia and sarcopenic obesity in older adults in the community and investigating its association with protein intake, no. 44.
Background: The age structure of Scotland's population is changing and the number of older adults is increasing. Some of the changes associated with ageing are the progressive loss of skeletal muscle mass, strength and functionality. This condition is termed sarcopenia. Due to Scotland's ageing population the prevalence of sarcopenia will increase. It is thought that sarcopenia can be prevented or its progression slowed by alterations to diet, in particular protein intake. Aim: The aim of this study is to screen for sarcopenia and sarcopenic obesity in older adults living independently in the community and to investigate the association between these conditions and dietary protein intake. Methods: 16 participants were recruited from around Edinburgh and East Lothian. Participants were healthy, free-living adults who were over 50 years of age. Each participant was screened for sarcopenia by measuring their muscle mass, muscle function and physical performance. This was done by assessing their gait speed, handgrip strength and calculating their skeletal muscle index. The results obtained from these tests were then used in the European Working Group on Sarcopenia in Older People's algorithm which was used to diagnose sarcopenia. Percentage fat mass was also measured and was used in the diagnosis of sarcopenic obesity. Results: Five participants were found to have sarcopenia. Of those five, three participants had sarcopenic obesity. No significant difference was found between the sarcopenic and non-sarcopenic groups when energy intake, total protein intake or protein intake per kilo body weight were compared. There was found to be no significant association between any of the aspects of diet and gait speed, HGD or SMI. Conclusion: The results of this study were unexpected. However, this may have been due to the small sample size. Larger studies are needed to improve understanding of the association between sarcopenia and protein intake. Key words: Sarcopenia, sarcopenic obesity, protein intake, protein distribution, older adults