Body weight and body composition in old age and their relationship with frailty

Ilse Reinders*, Marjolein Visser, Laura Schaap

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose of review Aging is associated with various changes in body composition, including changes in weight, loss of muscle mass, and increase in fat mass. This article describes the role of body weight and body composition, and their changes, in the risk of frailty in old age. Recent findings Based on current literature, observational studies on obesity and high waist circumference show most convincing results for an association with frailty. The independent role of muscle mass and muscle fat infiltration remains unclear, mainly due to a lack of studies and a lack of accurate measurement of body composition by computed tomography or MRI. Weight loss and exercise training intervention studies can be of benefit to frail older adults. Summary Obesity and high waist circumference may be important determinants of frailty in old age, whereas the role of muscle mass and muscle fat infiltration is still unclear. More prospective studies that will specifically focus on frailty as an outcome measure are needed to identify specific body composition components as potential targets for the prevention of frailty in old age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-15
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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