Association Between Sarcopenic Obesity and Pulmonary Function in Korean Elderly: Results from the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

  • Seung Eun Lee
  • Ju-Hyun Park
  • Kyoung-Ah Kim
  • Yun-Seong Kang
  • Han Seok ChoiEmail author
Original Research


Although body composition is related to lung function, few studies have reported the effects of sarcopenic obesity on lung function. Thus, the aim of this study was to investigate the associations between lung function and sarcopenia in the presence and in the absence of obesity. We analyzed nationally representative data of 3044 adults aged > 60 years as collated by the ‘Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2014–2016. Subjects were classified into four groups: non-sarcopenic non-obese (S−O−), non-sarcopenic obese (S−O+), sarcopenic non-obese (S+O−), and sarcopenic obese (S+O+) according to handgrip strength (GS) and body mass index (BMI). GS was found to be positively associated with forced volume vital capacity (FVC). The S+O+ group had significantly lower FVC values than the S−O− group. Subjects in the S+O+ group were more likely to have restrictive lung disease than those in the S−O− group (odds ratios [ORs] 2.81, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.72–4.59), and the ORs of restrictive lung disease in S+O+ group were higher than in the S−O+ or S+O− groups. These results were consistent after stratifying by sex and age (61–70 and 71–80). FEV1/FVC ratios (a marker for obstructive lung disease) were not significantly different between S+O+ and S−O− groups. Sarcopenic obesity is associated with a higher risk of restrictive lung disease in Korean elderly.


Sarcopenia Obesity Sarcopenic obesity Handgrip strength Restrictive lung disease 



This work was supported by the Dongguk University Research Fund of 2017.

Author’s contribution

Lee S.E. contributed to the study design and prepared the first draft of the paper. Park J.-H. was responsible for the statistical analysis. Kim K.-A. and Kang Y.-S. interpreted data and critically revised the manuscript. Choi H.S. conceptualized study and is guarantor of this paper. All authors approved the final version. Adjusted for age, education, alcohol consumption, smoking, physical activity, dyslipidemia, hypertension, and diabetes.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal MedicineDongguk University Ilsan Hospital, Dongguk University College of MedicineGoyang-SiRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Department of StatisticsDongguk UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea
  3. 3.Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Internal MedicineDongguk University Ilsan Hospital, Dongguk University College of MedicineGoyang-SiRepublic of Korea

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