Korean J Fam Med.  2020 May;41(3):167-174. 10.4082/kjfm.18.0127.

The Association between the Ratio of Energy Intake to Basal Metabolic Rate and Physical Activity to Sarcopenia: Using the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (2008–2011)

  • 1Department of Family Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 2Department of Family Medicine, Seoul National University Health Service Center, Seoul, Korea


Sarcopenia is an important health problem, the risk factors of which a few studies have reported on. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the correlation between sarcopenia and the ratio of total energy intake to basal metabolic rate (BMR) as well as physical activity, and determine whether the relationship was different between younger and older age groups using data from the 2008–2011 Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
We analyzed 16,313 subjects older than 19 years who had dual energy X-ray absorptiometry data. Sarcopenia was defined as an appendicular lean mass/weight (%) ratio of 1 standard deviation below the sex-specific mean value for a younger reference group, and BMR was calculated using the Harris–Benedict equation. A chi-squared test and logistic regression analyses were performed to evaluate the factors associated with sarcopenia.
In this study, 15.2% of males and 15.4% of females had sarcopenia. Energy intake/BMR as well as physical activity was negatively related to sarcopenia risk. In stratified analysis by age and sex, strength exercises showed an inverse association with sarcopenia only in males under the age of 50 years (odds ratio, 0.577; P<0.0001), whereas higher energy intake/BMR was negatively associated with sarcopenia in each age and sex group.
Our findings suggest that adequate energy intake is important to prevent sarcopenia regardless of whether one exercises.


Sarcopenia; Energy Intake; Basal Metabolism; Exercise
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