Aim: To re-evaluate the suitability of calf circumference as a surrogate marker of low muscle mass measured by both bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). We also examined the effects of obesity and age on low muscle mass screening using calf circumference. Methods: In total, 1239 adults participated in this cross-sectional study. We measured the maximum calf circumference in a standing position and appendicular skeletal muscle mass (ASM) using BIA and DXA. We defined low muscle mass based on the Asian Working Group for Sarcopenia 2019 consensus. Results: Calf circumference was positively correlated with BIA-measured ASM/height2 (men: r = 0.81, women: r = 0.73) and DXA-measured ASM/height2 (men: r = 0.78, women: r = 0.76). In the subgroup analyses by obesity and age, calf circumference was also positively correlated with ASM/height2. The optimal calf circumference cut-offs for low muscle mass screening measured by BIA and DXA were 35 cm (sensitivity 91%, specificity 84%) and 36 cm (sensitivity 82%, specificity 80%) for men, and 33 cm (sensitivity 82%, specificity 84%) and 34 cm (sensitivity 85%, specificity 72%) for women, respectively. Conclusions: Calf circumference is positively correlated with BIA- and DXA-measured muscle mass regardless of obesity and age and is a simple and accurate surrogate marker of muscle mass for diagnosing sarcopenia. Geriatr Gerontol Int 2020; 20: 943–950.
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