Cutoff values for appendicular skeletal muscle mass and strength in relation to fear of falling among Brazilian older adults: cross-sectional study

<div><p>ABSTRACT CONTEXT AND OBJECTIVE: Sarcopenia is an emerging public health issue in Brazil. Because of its high prevalence and the lack of national data, the objective here was to identify cutoff points for appendicular skeletal muscle (ASM) and handgrip strength in relation to fear of falling among Brazilian older adults. DESIGN AND SETTING: Cross-sectional study; in the community. METHODS: Participants underwent morphological and functional evaluations; and were asked about previous falls and fear of falling. Different adjustments to ASM and handgrip strength were used. Slow walking speed was defined as < 0.8 m/s or 1.0 m/s. Gender and age groups were compared using t tests, analysis of variance (ANOVA), chi-square test or Fisher’s exact test. Receiver operating characteristic curves were used to identify cutoffs for ASM and handgrip strength in relation to fear of falling. RESULTS: 578 older adults participated in this study. Function levels decreased with increasing age, and body composition differed between the sexes. In relation to fear of falling, the cutoffs for ASM adjusted for body mass index (BMI) were < 0.85 for men and < 0.53 for women; the cutoffs for absolute handgrip strength and relative handgrip strength (adjusted for BMI) were 30.0 kgf and 21.7 kgf, and 1.07 and 0.66, for men and women, respectively. CONCLUSION: The values presented can be used as references in clinical practice and research. We recommend use of ASM adjusted for BMI and choosing between absolute and relative handgrip strength for men and women, according to study needs.</p></div>