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Lifestyle approaches to prevent and retard sarcopenia: A narrative review

  • Olivier Bruyère
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author: WHO Collaborating Centre for Public Health aspects of musculo-skeletal health and ageing, Division of Public Health, Epidemiology and Health Economics, University of Liège, Belgium.
    Affiliations
    WHO Collaborating Centre for Public Health aspects of musculo-skeletal health and ageing, Division of Public Health, Epidemiology and Health Economics, University of Liège, Belgium
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  • Jean-Yves Reginster
    Affiliations
    WHO Collaborating Centre for Public Health aspects of musculo-skeletal health and ageing, Division of Public Health, Epidemiology and Health Economics, University of Liège, Belgium
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  • Charlotte Beaudart
    Affiliations
    WHO Collaborating Centre for Public Health aspects of musculo-skeletal health and ageing, Division of Public Health, Epidemiology and Health Economics, University of Liège, Belgium
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      Highlights

      • Because of its prevalence and adverse consequences, sarcopenia can be considered a major public health concern.
      • The prevention and global management of sarcopenia are therefore of primary importance, especially in the absence of pharmacological treatment.
      • Lifestyle, including on one side social use of substances such as alcohol and tobacco and on the other side dietary habits and exercise, may have some influence on sarcopenia parameters.
      • The promotion of physical activity is an important strategy to combat loss of physical function and its consequences in older adults.
      • Healthier dietary patterns to counteract loss of muscle health has been highlighted in many observational studies but the results of the combination of exercise with dietary supplement are conflicting.
      • The effect of other lifestyle changes, including cessation of the use of substances such as alcohol and tobacco, is less evident in the current scientific literature.

      Abstract

      Sarcopenia, with its high prevalence and its adverse health outcomes, amongst older adults is considered a major public health problem. Its primary, secondary and tertiary preventions are therefore very important. Our objective was to review the effects of lifestyle factors, including not only dietary habits and exercise but also social use of substances such as alcohol and tobacco, on the incidence of sarcopenia and on its health outcomes. We found that the effect of lifestyle on muscle parameters or physical function has been investigated in many trials of heterogeneous design and quality. However, based on data from interventional studies, we can be confident that loss of physical function and its consequences can be counteracted by physical activity. There are some interesting data, mainly evident from observational studies, suggesting that healthier dietary patterns may improve muscle health. The combination of exercise with dietary supplement has more conflicting results and the effect of other lifestyle changes, such as cessation of alcohol or tobacco use, is difficult to establish clearly. Further high-quality trials are needed to substantiate the mechanism of action of each intervention as well as to determine the optimal modalities of these in older adults.

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