Background and objective: Variations in the risk factors for sarcopenia can lead to differences in the likelihood of developing sarcopenia among older adults; however, few studies have explored the interactions among the risk factors. This study examined the interactions among risk factors and identified a discriminative pathway for groups at risk of sarcopenia in community-dwelling older adults. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted between July and August 2019 to recruit 200 older adults from an outpatient department of a hospital providing care for older people. Data on various risk factors, namely demographics (age, gender, education, comorbidities, and body mass index [BMI]), dietary habits (weekly consumption of milk, coffee, and meat), lifestyle behaviours (vitamin D supplementation, smoking, drinking, and physical activity), and depression symptoms were collected. Sarcopenia was defined according to the Asian Working Group for Sarcopenia criteria. A classification and regression tree (CART) model was used to examine interactions among these factors and identify groups at risk of sarcopenia. Findings: The prevalence of sarcopenia was 38.5%. The CART model identified two end groups at differential risks of sarcopenia, with a minimum of one and a maximum of three risk factors. In the first group, low BMI (<18.5 kg/m2) was a predominant risk factor for sarcopenia among older people. In the second group, older adults with a normal BMI, aged ≥68 years, and without a regular walking habit had a higher probability of developing sarcopenia than did their counterparts. Conclusions: The interactive effects among older age, BMI, and walking may cause different probabilities of developing sarcopenia in the older population. Implications for practice: Older adults with a low or normal BMI but without a regular walking habit could be a predominant risk group for sarcopenia. The appropriate maintenance of body weight and regular walking activity is suggested to prevent sarcopenia in community-dwelling older adults.
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