BACKGROUND: Muscle impairment is a common condition in older people and a powerful risk factor for disability and mortality. The aim of this study was to apply the European Working Group on Sarcopenia in Older People criteria to estimate the prevalence and investigate the clinical correlates of sarcopenia, in a sample of Italian community-dwelling older people. METHODS: Cross-sectional analysis of 730 participants (74% aged 65 years and older) enrolled in the InCHIANTI study. Sarcopenia was defined according to the European Working Group on Sarcopenia in Older People criteria using bioimpedance analysis for muscle mass assessment. Logistic regression analysis was used to identify the factors independently associated with sarcopenia. RESULTS: Sarcopenia defined by the European Working Group on Sarcopenia in Older People criteria increased steeply with age (p < .001), with 31.6% of women and 17.4% of men aged 80 years or older being affected by this condition. Higher education (odds ratio: 0.85; 95% CI: 0.74-0.98), lower insulin-like growth factor I (lowest vs highest tertile, odds ratio: 3.89; 95% CI: 1.03-14.1), and low bioavailable testosterone (odds ratio: 2.67; 95% CI: 1.31-5.44) were independently associated with the likelihood of being sarcopenic. Nutritional intake, physical activity, and level of comorbidity were not associated with sarcopenia. CONCLUSIONS: Sarcopenia identified by the European Working Group on Sarcopenia in Older People criteria is a relatively common condition in Italian octogenarians, and its prevalence increases with aging. Correlates of sarcopenia identified in this study might suggest new approaches for prevention and treatment of sarcopenia.
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