Association of low muscle mass and combined low muscle mass and visceral obesity with low cardiorespiratory fitness

PLoS One. 2014 Jun 17;9(6):e100118. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0100118. eCollection 2014.


Objective: Previous studies have shown that low cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF), visceral obesity and low muscle mass may share pathophysiological mechanisms, such as insulin resistance and chronic inflammation. In this study, we investigated whether low CRF is associated with low muscle mass, visceral obesity, and visceral obesity combined with low muscle mass.

Research design and methods: The associations between CRF and low muscle mass and combined low muscle mass and visceral obesity were examined in 298 apparently healthy adults aged 20-70 years. Low muscle mass was defined using a skeletal muscle mass index (SMI) that was calculated using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. Visceral obesity was defined as a visceral fat area (VFA) exceeding 100 cm2 in women and 130 cm2 in men. We classified the participants into 4 low muscle mass/visceral obesity groups according to SMI and VFA. CRF was measured using a cycle ergometer test.

Results: CRF level correlated positively with SMI and negatively with VFA. Individuals with low muscle mass had lower CRF values than those without low muscle mass. After adjustment for age, sex, lifestyle factors, and markers for insulin resistance and inflammation, participants in the lowest quartile of CRF had an odds ratio (OR) for low muscle mass of 4.98 compared with those in the highest quartile (95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.19-12.99; P for trend = 0.001) and an OR for combined low muscle mass and visceral obesity of 31.46 (95% CI = 4.31-229.68; P for trend = 0.001).

Conclusions: Individuals with lower CRF exhibited increased risk of low muscle mass and combined low muscle mass and visceral obesity. These results suggest that low CRF may be a potential indicator for low muscle mass and combined low muscle mass and visceral obesity in Korean adults.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cardiovascular Physiological Phenomena*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Intra-Abdominal Fat
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology*
  • Obesity, Abdominal / etiology*
  • Obesity, Abdominal / pathology
  • Risk Factors
  • Sarcopenia / complications
  • Sarcopenia / physiopathology*
  • Young Adult

Grant support

This study was supported by the Health Promotion Funds from the Korea Ministry of Health & Welfare, Korean Diabetes Association, 2009, and Priority Research Centers Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (2010-0020224). This work was also supported by a grant from Research year of Inje University in 2014 (20140036). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.