The associations of sarcopenia with adverse health status have highlighted the importance of sarcopenia research and intervention. This study was designed to analyze the characteristics of aging-related differences in appendicular skeletal muscle mass (ASM), handgrip strength (HS), gait speed (GS) and their associated factors in older Chinese, in order to generate guidance for sarcopenia intervention in this population.
Population-based cross-sectional study. The criteria proposed by Asian Working Group for Sarcopenia were used to define low ASM, HS, and GS. The time required for five repeated chair stands (RCS) was also measured to evaluate physical performance. The differences of continuous variables were compared using one-way ANOVA tests and the Pearson correlation was used to analyze the relationship of each measurement adjusted by gender and age. Stepwise logistic regression was used to determine associated factors of low HS and low physical performance.
The data were analyzed in a total of 218 younger adults (aged 20-59, 76 males, 142 females) and 461 older adults (≥60 year, 207 males and 254 females). There were significant differences among age groups for HS, GS, and RCS while females were found to have significantly lower HS and GS values. ASM was significantly correlated with HS but not with other measures. Correlations among HS and GS, RCS were influenced by age differences. In the older group, unstructured daily routine (OR = 2.77) was associated with the risk of low GS, while physical exercise (OR = 0.27), and engaging in hobbies (OR = 0.11) were associated with faster GS. Co-morbidity (OR = 1.99) was associated with the risk of reduced performance of RCS, while engaging in hobbies was associated with faster RCS performance (OR = 0.35).
Muscle strength and physical performance varied with aging in older Chinese. Measures of GS, HS, and RCS provide a readily available and effective method for assessing the risk of functional mobility decline. Maintaining a healthy life style and physical activity throughout life is beneficial for older people to improve their physical performance, especially in the early stages of aging.