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01.12.2014 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2014 Open Access

BMC Geriatrics 1/2014

The application of different appendicular skeletal muscle cutoff points and research definitions associated with health-related quality of life in Korean older people: data from KNHANES 2008–2011

BMC Geriatrics > Ausgabe 1/2014
Yeon-Pyo Kim, Ju-Youn Joh, Sun Kim, Hwan-Sik Hwang, Il-Seon Shin
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​1471-2318-14-144) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

YPK, HSH and ILS conceptualized the study design. YPK conducted analyses. YPK, JYJ and SK wrote the first draft of the paper. All authors critically revised the manuscript and read and approved the final version.



This study was conducted to determine the prevalence of a low appendicular skeletal muscle index (ASMI) using three cut-off points (mean ASMI-2SD of a gender-specific young reference group (aged 18–39 years), mean ASMI-1SD of a gender-specific young reference group, and the lower 20 percentile value of a gender-specific older group (aged ≥ 65 years)) in Korean older people and the relationship between ASMI and subjective health-related quality of life.


This study utilized data acquired during the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES) from 2008–2011. Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry body compositional data was obtained from a subsample of 6538 subjects (men 2804, women 3734) aged 18–39 and 4413 subjects (men 1872, women 2541) aged 65 years and older. The three definitions of low appendicular skeletal muscle and the EQ-5D-3 L-Korean descriptive system were applied to Korean older people.


For the ASMI cutoff points used, in men, the three cutoff points were ASMI 2SD (6.09 kg/m2), ASMI 20 (6.48 kg/m2), and ASMI 1SD (6.95 kg/m2). In women, ASMI 2SD (4.38 kg/m2) was the lowest, followed by ASMI 1SD (4.96 kg/m2) and ASMI 20 (5.33 kg/m2). Proportions of older subjects with a low ASMI using the three cutoff points were 9.7% (ASMI 2SD) and 40.9% (ASMI 1SD) in men, and 0.7% (ASMI 2SD) and 7.4% (ASMI 1SD) in women. By multivariate ordinal logistic regression analysis, men with a low ASMI had significantly high odd ratios for the three domains of mobility (p < 0.001), self-care (p = 0.005), and usual activities (p = 0.004) among the five domains of the EQ-5D and EQ-5D index (p = 0.010).


The ASMI 2SD cut-off points for older Koreans, 6.09 kg/m2 for men and 4.38 kg/m2 for women, resulted in low prevalences of a low ASM, that is, 9.7% for men and 0.7% for women, and showed low clinical usefulness due to very low determined prevalence in women. Hence, we suggest that the cut-off point of the lowest 20% of Korean older people (men: 6.48 kg/m2, women; 5.33 kg/m2) be used for older Koreans.
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