We aimed to determine the most appropriate sarcopenia screening method for Asian populations. We retrospectively studied the physiological differences between the sexes in healthy individuals and prospectively compared using skeletal muscle mass versus handgrip strength (HS) to screen for sarcopenia in a community-based population. Skeletal muscle mass was determined using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Of 5881 healthy individuals recruited, 101 were from urban populations and 349 from a community-based population. The sexes were comparable in total lean muscle mass declines after peaking around 20 years of age. An age-dependent decline in total fat mass was found only among men;a persistent increase in total fat mass was observed only among women. The prevalence of low skeletal muscle mass significantly increased with age in both sexes only when applying the weight-adjusted skeletal muscle index (wSMI); it was significant only among men when applying the height-adjusted skeletal muscle index (hSMI). Using HS resulted in a much higher prevalence of sarcopenia in both sexes. A significant age-dependent increase in fat mass in women showed that the most appropriate adjustment method is wSMI for women and hSMI for men. Nevertheless, a primary HS survey is recommended for both sexes in Asian populations.