Prevalence of older adults with low muscle mass living in a residential continuing care retirement community in Florida

Dennis Hunt, Sareen S. Gropper, Kelly A. Miller, Barbara Tymczyszyn, Deborah Chapa


Muscle mass, strength, and function have been shown to decline with aging, and if of sufficient magnitude can result in sarcopenia. This study’s objective was to determine the prevalence of low muscle mass in a group of adults living in a “premier” Florida residential continuing care retirement community. The sample consisted of 80 older adults, ranging from young old (65-74 years) to the oldest old (85+ years) with the oldest participant being 94 years. Skeletal muscle mass was assessed via bioelectrical impedance analysis. Skeletal muscle index values were calculated and compared with established cut-off values to classify each individual’s muscle mass as normal or low (sarcopenic). The prevalence of sarcopenia among the males was 66% and among females was 73%. When examined by age, 56% of those in their 70s, 73% of those in their 80s, and 79% of adults in their 90s had low muscle mass indicative of sarcopenia. This study found a higher prevalence for sarcopenia in females and males, especially among the oldest groups, than previously reported in a nationally representative sample of adults. This study’s findings also suggest the need for further studies examining whether the prevalence of low muscle mass among adults in either classification varies with socioeconomic status and ethnicity. Continuing care retirement communities may provide excellent environments for the screening, diagnosis, and implementation of exercise and nutritional programs for residents to help prevent or attenuate sarcopenia’s deleterious effects. Nurse practitioners must incorporate screening for sarcopenia in their wellness package for their patients. Screening, nutritional education and support and exercise prescriptions are vital to prevent associated decline from sarcopenia.

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Clinical Nursing Studies
ISSN 2324-7940(Print)   ISSN 2324-7959(Online)

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