The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women’s Health (OWH) has launched a new nationwide campaign, “Stronger than Sarcopenia,” [saar-ko-pee-ni-uh], to raise awareness of sarcopenia in women, a condition characterized by loss of muscle mass, strength, and function in adults 65 and older. Sarcopenia can significantly decrease a person’s quality of life and lead to other health problems, including an increased risk of debilitatingfalls and fractures.
Studies have found a nationwide decline in physical activity in recent years due to changes in lifestyle during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sarcopenia is often made worse by a lack of physical activity.
“As our understanding of sarcopenia has evolved, we have continued to learn more about the causes and effects of the condition. It’s important that we keep women and healthcare professionals abreast of the latest information to help ensure the best care and outcome for patients,” said ADM Rachel L. Levine, M.D., Assistant Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
To better prepare healthcare professionals to identify and address sarcopenia among their patients, OWH collaborated with Medscape Education to develop continuing medical education (CME) credits for healthcare professionals. This peer-reviewed and accredited CME activity will improve healthcare professionals’ knowledge and skills related to the screening, evaluation, treatment, and management of sarcopenia.
"The public is likely familiar with bone health disorders like osteoporosis and osteopenia, but muscle health disorders like sarcopenia can be equally as impactful on women’s abilities to maintain function and mobility as they age,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary for Women’s Health Dr. Dorothy Fink. “Simple changes to daily routines, such as lifting light weights a few days each week and increasing protein intake can help women maintain or regain lost muscle mass to more easily engage in everyday activities.”
Studies show that more than 45 percent of the older U.S. population is affected by sarcopenia, with millions of younger adults at risk for developing it later in life. OWH’s “Stronger than Sarcopenia” campaign encourages women to speak to their healthcare professionals about sarcopenia and for healthcare professionals to screen for the condition and provide proper treatment if needed.
To help spread that message, OWH has created a toolkit with information and resources and formed a network of public and private sector collaborators.
Additional information about “Stronger than Sarcopenia” is available online at www.womenshealth.gov/sarcopenia.