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What Is The Muscle Mass Index?

Last updated May 9, 2019

Approved by: Maulik P. Purohit MD, MPH

Muscle mass is also called lean body mass. It consists of muscles, bone tissues, water content, and everything except fat that is found under the skin surface.

Muscle mass is also called lean body mass. It consists of muscles, bone tissues, water content, and everything except fat that is found under the skin surface. This can help determine the lean weight in your body. The good news about muscle mass is that individuals with a good muscle mass index rarely experience premature death when compared to those with poor muscle mass index. This finding was revealed by the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). The bottom-line is that the muscle mass index is the key to enhancing your life span. This goes to prove that muscle mass is a better predictor of longevity in elderly adults compared to body mass index.

How to calculate muscle mass percentage:

Calculate the fat percentage of the body by using a fat scale and subtract the body fat percentage from 100. This will give the lean mass percentage. Then, divide the lean mass percentage by 100 to get the decimal value of lean mass percent. Lastly, multiply the lean mass decimal with your body weight to get your lean mass weight.

The relevance of muscle mass index on health:

Muscle mass relative to height is called the muscle mass index. In a survey conducted by ULCA in the year 1988-1994 among 3,659 samples that constituted males of 55 plus and females of 65 plus for muscle mass index, the results were gathered in the year 2004. The results showed that the deaths due to natural causes were correlated to muscle mass index, inferring that individuals with more muscle mass encountered less death due to natural causes. The total mortality was low in 25 percent of people with high muscle mass index in comparison with 25 percent with low muscle mass. This proves that health and longevity are not connected with Body Mass Index, but rather Muscle Mass Index.

A paper in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology reveals that dialysis patients with higher muscle mass have a better quality of life. In the study, about 105 dialysis patients were analyzed for BMI, mid thigh muscle area measurement, waist circumference, and infra abdominal fat area. These patients were monitored and assessments were made half-yearly and annually. The patients took a 6-minute walk trial and answered questions. The study showed that higher muscle mass is related to higher physical function, and thus a good quality of life. Physical activity decreased fat mass and increased muscle mass, thereby improving physical functions in dialysis patients.

Protein intake can enhance muscle mass index and research has shown this relationship between muscle mass index and protein intake in women. Omnivorous and vegetarian Caucasian women were studied for muscle mass and protein consumption. The ratio was 21:19 and the muscle mass difference was analyzed. It was inferred that animal protein intake showed higher muscle mass when compared to a vegetarian diet, despite having the same amount of protein intake. This goes to prove that muscle mass in omnivorous women is higher.

The above studies prove that muscle mass index can be vital in determining the health of an individual, while it also reduces mortality rates in individuals with a higher muscle mass index.

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Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: May 9, 2019
Last updated: May 9, 2019