Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Sarcopenia, long-term conditions and multimorbidity: findings from UK Biobank participants

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Richard DoddsORCiD, Dr Antoneta Granic, Professor Sian RobinsonORCiD, Professor Avan SayerORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Background Sarcopenia, the loss of muscle strength and mass, predicts adverse outcomes and becomes common with age. There is recognition that sarcopenia may occur at younger ages in those with long-term conditions (LTCs) as well as those with multimorbidity (the presence of two or more LTCs), but their relationships have been little explored. Our aims were to describe the prevalence of sarcopenia in UK Biobank, a large sample of men and women aged 40-70 years, and to explore relationships with different categories of LTCs and multimorbidity. Methods We used data from 499,046 participants in the baseline of UK Biobank. Our main outcome was probable sarcopenia based on maximum grip strength below sex-specific cut-points. Participants’ LTCs were recorded during an interview and categorised against a hierarchy. We used logistic regression to examine the independent associations between each category of LTCs and probable sarcopenia, including adjustment for age, sex, and body mass index. We also examined the association with multimorbidity. Results Probable sarcopenia had an overall prevalence of 5.3% and increased with age. The categories with the strongest associations with probable sarcopenia were musculoskeletal / trauma (OR 2.17 [95% CI: 2.11, 2.23]), endocrine / diabetes (OR 1.49 [95% CI: 1.45, 1.55]), and neurological / psychiatric (OR 1.39 [95% CI: 1.34, 1.43]) LTCs. Almost half of the sample (44.5%) had multimorbidity and they were at nearly twice the odds of probable sarcopenia (OR 1.96 [95% CI: 1.91, 2.02]) compared to those without. Conclusions We have shown an overall prevalence of 5.3% of probable sarcopenia at ages 40-70 in UK Biobank. The risk of probable sarcopenia was higher in those with some categories of LTCs, suggesting that these groups may stand to benefit from assessment of sarcopenia, during mid-life as well as old age.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Dodds RM, Granic A, Robinson SM, Sayer AA

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Cachexia Sarcopenia and Muscle

Year: 2020

Volume: 11

Issue: 1

Pages: 62-68

Print publication date: 01/02/2020

Online publication date: 30/12/2019

Acceptance date: 09/09/2019

Date deposited: 26/09/2019

ISSN (print): 2190-5991

ISSN (electronic): 2190-6009

Publisher: Wiley - VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA


DOI: 10.1002/jcsm.12503

PubMed id: 31886632


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric