Previous cross-sectional studies have indicated that low relative appendicular lean mass (ALM) against body weight (divided by body weight, ALM/Wt, or divided by body mass index, ALM/BMI) was negatively associated with metabolic syndrome (MetS). Conversely, previous cross-sectional studies have indicated that the absolute ALM or ALM divided by squared height (ALM/Ht2) were positively associated with MetS. The aim of this longitudinal study was to investigate the association between low absolute or relative skeletal muscle mass, leg muscle power, or percent body fat and the development of MetS in Japanese women in a 7-y prospective study. The study participants included 346 Japanese women aged 26 to 85 years. The participants were divided into low and high groups based on the median values of ALM/ Wt, ALM/BMI, ALM/Ht2, absolute ALM, or leg power. The longitudinal relationship between ALM indices or leg power and MetS development was examined using Kaplan-Meier curves and Cox regression models (average follow-up duration 7 years, range 1 to 10 years). During follow-up, 24 participants developed MetS. MetS incidence was higher in the low ALM/Wt group than the high ALM/Wt group even after controlling for age, obesity, waist circumference, family history of diabetes, smoking, and physical activity [adjusted hazard ratio = 5.60 (95% CI; 1.04–30.0)]. In contrast, MetS incidence was lower in the low ALM/Ht2 group than the high ALM/Ht2 group [adjusted hazard ratio = 10.6 (95%CI; 1.27–89.1)]. MetS incidence was not significantly different between the low and high ALM/BMI, absolute ALM, and leg power groups. Both ALM/Ht2 and ALM/Wt were not significant predictive variables for MetS development when fat mass or percent body fat was taken into account in the Cox model. At the very least, the results of this study underscore the importance of body composition measurements in that percent body fat, but not ALM, is associated with MetS development.
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