Background: Skeletal muscle mass was negatively associated with metabolic syndrome prevalence in previous cross-sectional studies. The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of baseline skeletal muscle mass and changes in skeletal muscle mass over time on the development of metabolic syndrome in a large population-based 7-year cohort study.
Methods: A total of 14,830 and 11,639 individuals who underwent health examinations at the Health Promotion Center at Samsung Medical Center, Seoul, Korea were included in the analyses of baseline skeletal muscle mass and those changes from baseline over 1 year, respectively. Skeletal muscle mass was estimated by bioelectrical impedance analysis and was presented as a skeletal muscle mass index (SMI), a body weight-adjusted appendicular skeletal muscle mass value. Using Cox regression models, hazard ratio for developing metabolic syndrome associated with SMI values at baseline or changes of SMI over a year was analyzed.
Results: During 7 years of follow-up, 20.1% of subjects developed metabolic syndrome. Compared to the lowest sex-specific SMI tertile at baseline, the highest sex-specific SMI tertile showed a significant inverse association with metabolic syndrome risk (adjusted hazard ratio [AHR] = 0.61, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.54-0.68). Furthermore, compared with SMI changes < 0% over a year, multivariate-AHRs for metabolic syndrome development were 0.87 (95% CI 0.78-0.97) for 0-1% changes and 0.67 (0.56-0.79) for > 1% changes in SMI over 1 year after additionally adjusting for baseline SMI and glycometabolic parameters.
Conclusions: An increase in relative skeletal muscle mass over time has a potential preventive effect on developing metabolic syndrome, independently of baseline skeletal muscle mass and glycometabolic parameters.
Keywords: Change; Longitudinal study; Metabolic syndrome; Skeletal muscle.