Overview: Sarcopenia is the age-related loss of muscle mass. Sarcopenic obesity, which describes the process of muscle loss combined with increased body fat as people age, is associated with loss of strength and function, reduced quality of life, and early death. This article describes the clinical significance of sarcopenia and sarcopenic obesity, their pathophysiology, and management strategies for healthy older adults. Both diet and exercise are essential for preventing and reversing loss of muscle and gains in fat. Dietary approaches include protein supplementation and a high protein diet. Exercise strategies promote resistance training in order to maintain muscle mass and maximize energy expenditure.
Nurses should be knowledgeable about this condition and its management and routinely educate older patients on the benefits of resistance training and dietary protein to prevent or reverse sarcopenia and sarcopenic obesity.
Keywords: aging, high-protein diet, obesity, resistance training, sarcopenia, sarcopenic obesity
Patient education on diet and resistance training is key to minimizing age-related loss of muscle and increase in body fat.
Melissa J. Benton is an associate professor, and Maria D. Whyte and Brenda W. Dyal are assistant professors, at Valdosta State University College of Nursing, Valdosta, GA. Contact author: Melissa J. Benton, firstname.lastname@example.org. Melissa J. Benton participated in a program sponsored by Abbott Nutrition, a maker of nutritional products, and received an honorarium for her participation. The other authors have disclosed no potential conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise. AJN's peer review process has determined this article to be objective and free of commercial bias.