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“Taichung Decliration“ Adopted to Focus on Sarcopenic Obesity in Asia-Oceania

The International Conference for Sarcopenic Obesity 2024 was jointly hosted by the Asia Oceania Association for the Study of Obesity (AOASO), the International Association of Gerontology & Geriatrics Asia/Oceania Region (IAGG-AOR), and the Taiwan Medical Association for the Study of Obesity (TMASO) at China Medical University in Taichung, Taiwan on March 17th. More than 200 experts and scholars from ten countries across Asia and Oceania region, including Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, China, Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and India, participated in discussing the epidemiology, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of sarcopenic obesity.

Sarcopenic obesity is a condition that combines obesity with the sarcopenia associated with aging. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), sarcopenia is defined as a decline in muscle mass and function, leading to frailty, decreased ability for daily activities, disability, falls, increased risk of hospitalization and death, and higher health care needs and costs. Obesity, characterized by excessive body fat, increases the risk of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. The global cost associated with obesity-related issues is as high as 1.8 trillion US Dollars, comparable to the losses from smoking and military conflicts. Therefore, the combination of sarcopenia and obesity is expected to incur even higher societal costs.

Age is the most significant risk factor for sarcopenia. As populations age, the prevalence of sarcopenic obesity is expected to rise globally. A society where more than 20% of the population is aged 65 and older is considered a super-aged society. In East Asia, the challenges of sarcopenic obesity are becoming more severe with the advent of an aging society.

Currently, there is no unified diagnostic standard for sarcopenic obesity in Asia. At the conference, experts from various countries discussed diagnostic standards and signed the "Taichung Declaration" to promote awareness and diagnosis criteria for sarcopenic obesity in the Asia-Oceania region.

The "Taichung Declaration" emphasizes that sarcopenic obesity is a significant public health issue that requires attention from governments and the medical community. The declaration calls for countries to enhance health education and public awareness of sarcopenic obesity, establish comprehensive monitoring systems, strengthen basic research on the condition, and improve epidemiological research and development of effective treatments.

The conference agenda included discussions on the current epidemiological status of obesity and sarcopenia in Asia-Oceania, prospects, and treatments for sarcopenic obesity. Experts from various countries delivered insightful lectures and engaged in vigorous discussions. Additionally, the conference featured oral presentations and a poster competition, providing a platform for young scholars to exchange ideas.

The successful hosting of this conference will aid in advancing research and prevention efforts for sarcopenic obesity in Asia-Oceania region.