Sarcopenia and sarcopenic obesity among older adults in the nordic countries: a scoping review

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Sarcopenia and sarcopenic obesity (SO) are age-related syndromes that may compromise physical and mental health among older adults. The Nordic countries differ from other regions on prevalence of disease, life-style behavior, and life expectancy, which may impact prevalence of sarcopenia and SO. Therefore, the aim of this study is to review the available evidence and gaps within this field in the Nordic countries.
PubMed, Embase, and Web of science (WOS) were searched up to February 2023. In addition, grey literature and reference lists of included studies were searched. Two independent researcher assessed papers and extracted data.
Thirty-three studies out of 6,363 searched studies were included in this scoping review. Overall prevalence of sarcopenia varied from 0.9 to 58.5%. A wide prevalence range was still present for community-dwelling older adults when definition criteria and setting were considered. The prevalence of SO ranged from 4 to 11%, according to the only study on this field. Based on the included studies, potential risk factors for sarcopenia include malnutrition, low physical activity, specific diseases (e.g., diabetes), inflammation, polypharmacy, and aging, whereas increased levels of physical activity and improved dietary intake may reduce the risk of sarcopenia. The few available interventions for sarcopenia were mainly focused on resistance training with/without nutritional supplements (e.g., protein, vitamin D).
The findings of our study revealed inadequate research on SO but an increasing trend in the number of studies on sarcopenia. However, most of the included studies had descriptive cross-sectional design, small sample size, and applied different diagnostic criteria. Therefore, larger well-designed cohort studies that adhere to uniform recent guidelines are required to capture a full picture of these two age-related medical conditions in Nordic countries, and plan for prevention/treatment accordingly.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Publication statusPublished - 13. May 2024


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