Age-related, site-specific muscle loss in 1507 Japanese men and women aged 20 to 95 years

Takashi Abe*, Mikako Sakamaki, Tomohiro Yasuda, Michael G. Bemben, Masakatsu Kondo, Yasuo Kawakami, Tetsuo Fukunaga

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Citations (Scopus)


We investigated the relationship between age and muscle size in both the appendicular and trunk regions of 1507 Japanese men and women aged 20 to 95 years. Seven hundred twenty-two men (young [aged 20-39 years], n = 211; middle-aged [aged 40-59 years], n = 347; and old [aged 6095 years], n = 164) and 785 women (young, n = 207; middle-aged, n = 341; and old, n = 237) were recruited for this cross-sectional study. Muscle thickness (MTH) and subcutaneous fat thickness (FTH) were measured by ultrasound at 8 sites on the anterior and posterior aspects of the body. MTH was expressed in terms relative to limb length (MTH/L) or height (MTH/Ht). Percent body fat was estimated from FTH, and fat-free mass (FFM) was calculated. In men, a graded decrease in FFM was found in all age groups. In women, FFM was similar in the young and middle-aged groups, but was lower in the oldest group. Age was significantly and inversely correlated with FFM in men (r = -0.358, p < 0.01), but not in women (r = -0.08). On the other hand, age was strongly and inversely correlated with quadriceps MTH/L (men, r = -0.529; women, r = -0.489; both p < 0.001) and abdomen MTH/Ht (men, r = -0.464; women, r = -0.446; both p < 0.001) in both men and women, while there were only weak correlations between age and other lower limb and trunk sites. Our results indicated that sarcopenia is observed as a site-specific loss of skeletal muscle mass, especially for the quadriceps and abdominal muscles, in Japanese men and women aged 20 to 95 years.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-150
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Sports Science and Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Mar 1


  • Daily physical activity
  • Muscle distribution
  • Sarcopenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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