Sarcopenia, calf circumference, and physical function of elderly women: a cross-sectional study.J Am Geriatr Soc. 2003 Aug; 51(8):1120-4.JA
To determine whether calf circumference (CC), related to appendicular skeletal muscle mass, can be used as a measure of sarcopenia and is related to physical function.
Retrospective analysis of data from 1992 to 1994 of the European Patient Information and Documentation Systems Study.
Community setting in France.
One thousand four hundred fifty-eight French women aged 70 and older without previous history of hip fracture were recruited from the electoral lists.
Muscular mass was assessed using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA). CC was measured using a tape measure. Anthropometric measurements (height; weight; and waist, hip, and calf circumference), strength markers (grip strength), and self-reported physical function were also determined. Sarcopenia was defined (using DEXA) as appendicular skeletal muscle mass (weight (kg)/height (m2)) less than two standard deviations below the mean of a young female reference group.
The prevalence of sarcopenia was 9.5%. CC was correlated with appendicular skeletal muscle mass (r = 0.63). CC under 31 cm was the best clinical indicator of sarcopenia (sensitivity = 44.3%, specificity = 91.4%). CC under 31 cm was associated with disability and self-reported physical function but not sarcopenia (defined using DEXA), independent of age, comorbidity, obesity, income, health behavior, and visual impairment.
CC cannot be used to predict sarcopenia defined using DEXA but provides valuable information on muscle-related disability and physical function.