Sarcopenia: burden and challenges for public health

Arch Public Health. 2014 Dec 18;72(1):45. doi: 10.1186/2049-3258-72-45. eCollection 2014.


Sarcopenia, operationally defined as the loss of muscle mass and muscle function, is a major health condition associated with ageing, and contributes to many components of public health at both the patient and the societal levels. Currently, no consensual definition of sarcopenia exists and therefore it is still a challenge to establish the actual prevalence of sarcopenia or to establish the direct and indirect impacts of sarcopenia on public health. Anyway, this geriatric syndrome represents a huge potential public health issue because of its multiple clinical and societal consequences. Moreover, all these aspects have an impact on healthcare costs both for the patient and the society. Therefore, the implementation of effective and broadly applicable preventive and therapeutic interventions has become a medical and societal challenge for the growing number of older persons affected by sarcopenia and its disabling complications.

Keywords: Consequences; Diagnosis; Epidemiology; Public health; Sarcopenia.