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Sarcopenia is a progressive loss of musculoskeletal condition, and the Asian Working Group for Sarcopenia has established the following diagnostic criteria for sarcopenia: (1) handgrip strength (< 26 kg) and/or (2) gait speed (< 0.8 meter/second) and (3) skeletal muscle mass index (< 7 kg/m2). Sarcopenia is known to have a negative impact on quality of life, including falls and progressive disability. Older Buddhist monks may be at a higher risk for sarcopenia because of dietary problems, low levels of exercise, and chronic illnesses. This study used a descriptive correlational design aiming to investigate the prevalence of sarcopenia and the predictability of this and its three components in 324 older monks in Bangkok and a surrounding province. Measures for data collection were demographic and health questionnaires containing 13 questions, and measures of body composition, muscle strength, and physical performance. Data analysis included descriptive statistics, logistic regression, and multiple linear regression.
Results revealed that the prevalence of sarcopenia was zero. All participants had a normal skeletal muscle mass index; however, 31.2% had low handgrip strength; and 55.2% had low gait speed. Age and physical activity together predicted low handgrip strength. Age and chronic illness together predicted low gait speed. Body mass index, physical activity, and weight loss together predicted skeletal muscle mass index.
Age and physical activity are strongly predictability with the components of sarcopenia, and nurses should promote moderate to vigorous physical activity for maintaining muscle strength and gait ability.
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