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Is there a social gradient of sarcopenia? A meta-analysis and systematic review protocol

13 Jan 2018


Sarcopenia (or loss of muscle mass and function) is a relatively new area within the field of musculoskeletal research and medicine. Investigating whether there is a social gradient, including occupation type and income level, of sarcopenia, as observed for other diseases, will contribute significantly to the limited evidence base for this disease. This new information may inform the prevention and management of sarcopenia and widen the evidence base to support existing and future health campaigns.

Methods and analysis

We will conduct a systematic search of the databases PubMed, Ovid, CINAHL, Scopus and EMBASE to identify articles that investigate associations between social determinants of health and sarcopenia in adults aged 50 years and older. Eligibility of the selected studies will be determined by two independent reviewers. The methodological quality of eligible studies will be assessed according to predetermined criteria. Established statistical methods to identify and control for heterogeneity will be used, and where appropriate, we will conduct a meta-analysis. In the event that heterogeneity prevents numerical synthesis, a best evidence analysis will be employed. This systematic review protocol adheres to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses Protocols reporting guidelines and will be registered with the International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (PROSPERO).

Ethics and dissemination

This systematic review will use published data, thus ethical permissions will not be required. In addition to peer-reviewed publication, our results will be presented at (inter)national conferences relevant to the field of sarcopenia, ageing and/or musculoskeletal health and disseminated both electronically and in print.

PROSPERO registration number


Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open

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