Application of Cut-Points for Low Muscle Strength and Lean Mass in Mobility-Limited Older Adults

Gregory J. Grosicki, Thomas G. Travison, Hao Zhu, Jay Magaziner, Ellen F. Binder, Marco Pahor, Rosaly Correa-de-Araujo, Peggy M. Cawthon, Shalender Bhasin, Denise Orwig, Susan Greenspan, Todd Manini, Joe Massaro, Adam Santanasto, Sheena Patel, Roger A. Fielding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: The Sarcopenia Definitions and Outcomes Consortium (SDOC) is a collaborative initiative seeking to develop and evaluate cut-points for low muscle strength and lean mass that predict an increased risk for slowness (usual walking speed <.8 m/s) among older adults. OBJECTIVES: The goal of the present study was to provide clinicians and researchers with an understanding of the diagnostic implications of using SDOC variables and cut-points in mobility-limited older adults. Using data from older individuals with specific conditions that render them at increased risk for mobility limitation, we evaluated the performance characteristics (ie, sensitivity and specificity) of five putative sarcopenia parameters and then compared these values with previously recommended diagnostic criteria for sarcopenia. DESIGN: Retrospective analysis of six randomized controlled trials enriched in persons at risk for mobility limitation. SETTING: National and international geriatric clinical research centers. PARTICIPANTS: A total of 925 mobility-limited older adults (≥55 years of age; 58% women) were included in the analysis. MEASUREMENTS: The prevalence of low muscle strength and lean mass were assessed using five candidate metrics discriminative of slowness. Analyses of sensitivity and specificity were used to compare muscle weakness criteria with published diagnostics for sarcopenia. RESULTS: Odds ratios (ORs) supported maximal grip strength (Grip max <35.5 and 20.0 in men and women, respectively) as the most discriminative of slowness in both men and women (OR = 3.66 and 3.53, respectively). More men (58%) than women (30%) fell below sex-specific maximal grip cut-points. When applying previously recommended sarcopenia component definitions in our population, we found that fewer individuals met those criteria (range = 6%-32%). CONCLUSION: A greater number of individuals fall below SDOC Grip max cut-points compared with previous recommendations. Clinicians and researchers working with older adults may consider these thresholds as an inclusive means to identify candidates for low-risk lifestyle promyogenic and function-promoting therapies. J Am Geriatr Soc 68:1445-1453, 2020.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1445-1453
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020


  • aging
  • muscle
  • physical function
  • sarcopenia

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