Sarcopenia and the Risk of Incident Osteoporosis

Pavankumar Kamat


July 29, 2021


  • Men with pre-sarcopenia and women with sarcopenia have an increased risk of developing osteoporosis.

Why this matters

  • Findings suggest that early public health strategies aimed at improving physical capabilities may delay or prevent the onset of osteoporosis.

Study design

  • A prospective study involving 168,682 participants (age, 37-70 years) from the UK Biobank.

  • The association of sarcopenia and its individual components with incident osteoporosis was assessed as per age groups and osteoporosis subtypes (with and without pathological fractures).

  • Funding: None.

Key results

  • After a median follow-up of 7.4 years, 6296 participants had osteoporosis.

  • Men with pre-sarcopenia (adjusted HR [aHR], 1.30; 95% CI, 1.03-1.63; P=.025) and women with sarcopenia (aHR, 1.66; 95% CI, 1.33-2.08; P<.001) had an increased risk of osteoporosis.

  • The associations remained strong in participants with osteoporosis and without pathological fractures, but weaker associations were seen in those with pathological fractures.

  • Within the individual components, the risk of incident osteoporosis increased in both sexes with:

    • low muscle mass (aHRwomen, 1.36; 95% CI, 1.22-1.51 and aHRmen, 3.07; 95% CI,1.68-5.59); and

    • slow gait speed (aHRwomen, 1.30; 95% CI, 1.17-1.45 and aHRmen, 1.70; 95% CI, 1.43-2.02).

  • Low grip strength was linked to an increased risk of incident osteoporosis in men (aHR, 1.38; 95% CI, 1.15-1.65), but not in women.

  • There was no significant interaction between sarcopenia and incident osteoporosis by age groups.


  • UK Biobank is not representative of the entire UK population in terms of sociodemographic, lifestyle and prevalent disease.


Petermann-Rocha F, Ferguson LD, Gray SR, Rodríguez-Gómez I, Sattar N, Siebert S, Ho FK, Pell JP, Celis-Morales C. Association of sarcopenia with incident osteoporosis: a prospective study of 168,682 UK biobank participants. J Cachexia Sarcopenia Muscle. 2021 Jul 15 [Epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1002/jcsm.12757. PMID: 34264024.  View full text

This clinical summary originally appeared on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.


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