Recent Advances in Sarcopenia Research in Asia: 2016 Update From the Asian Working Group for Sarcopenia

Asian Working Group for Sarcopenia

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

229 Scopus citations


Sarcopenia was recently classified a geriatric syndrome and is a major challenge to healthy aging. Affected patients tend to have worse clinical outcomes and higher mortality than those without sarcopenia. Although there is general agreement on the principal diagnostic characteristics, initial thresholds for muscle mass, strength, and physical performance were based on data from populations of predominantly Europid ancestry and may not apply worldwide. The Asian Working Group for Sarcopenia (AWGS) issued regional consensus guidelines in 2014, and many more research studies from Asia have since been published; this review summarizes recent progress. The prevalence of sarcopenia estimated by the AWGS criteria ranges between 4.1% and 11.5% of the general older population; however, prevalence rates were higher in Asian studies that used European Working Group on Sarcopenia in Older People cut-offs. Risk factors include age, sex, heart disease, hyperlipidemia, daily alcohol consumption, and low protein or vitamin intake; physical activity is protective. Adjusting skeletal muscle mass by weight rather than height is better in showing the effect of older age in sarcopenia and identifying sarcopenic obesity; however, some Asian studies found no significant skeletal muscle loss, and muscle strength might be a better indicator. Although AWGS 2014 diagnostic cut-offs were generally well accepted, some may require further revision in light of conflicting evidence from some studies. The importance of sarcopenia in diverse therapeutic areas is increasingly evident, with strong research interest in sarcopenic obesity and the setting of malignancy. Pharmacologic interventions have been unsatisfactory, and the core management strategies remain physical exercise and nutritional supplementation; however, further research is required to determine the most beneficial approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)767.e1-767.e7
JournalJournal of the American Medical Directors Association
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2016


  • Asia
  • diagnosis
  • muscle mass
  • muscle strength
  • Sarcopenia


Dive into the research topics of 'Recent Advances in Sarcopenia Research in Asia: 2016 Update From the Asian Working Group for Sarcopenia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this