Objective: To examine the prevalence of sarcopenia and its association with protein intake in men and women in a multi-ethnic population.
Design: We used cross-sectional data from the HELIUS (Healthy Life in an Urban Setting) study, which includes nearly 25,000 participants (aged 18–70 years) of Dutch, South-Asian Surinamese, African Surinamese, Turkish, Moroccan, and Ghanaian ethnic origin. For the current study, we included 5161 individuals aged 55 years and older. Sarcopenia was defined according to the EWGSOP2. In a subsample (N = 1371), protein intake was measured using ethnic-specific Food Frequency Questionnaires. Descriptive analyses were performed to study sarcopenia prevalence across ethnic groups in men and women, and logistic regression analyses were used to study associations between protein intake and sarcopenia.
Results: Sarcopenia prevalence was found to be sex- and ethnic-specific, varying from 29.8% in Turkish to 61.3% in South-Asian Surinamese men and ranging from 2.4% in Turkish up to 30.5% in South-Asian Surinamese women. Higher protein intake was associated with a 4% lower odds of sarcopenia in the subsample (OR = 0.96, 95%-CI: 0.92–0.99) and across ethnic groups, being only significant in the South-Asian Surinamese group.
Conclusion: Ethnic differences in the prevalence of sarcopenia and its association with protein intake suggest the need to target specific ethnic groups for prevention or treatment of sarcopenia.