Open Access Open Badges Research article

Required muscle mass for preventing lifestyle-related diseases in Japanese women

Masae Miyatani12*, Hiroshi Kawano34, Kei Masani12, Yuko Gando34, Kenta Yamamoto45, Michiya Tanimoto4, Taewoong Oh6, Chiyoko Usui37, Kiyoshi Sanada45, Mitsuru Higuchi7, Izumi Tabata4 and Motohiko Miyachi4

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

2 Lyndhurst Centre, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, Toronto, Canada

3 Graduate Schools of Human Sciences, Waseda University, Tokorozawa, Japan

4 Division of Health Promotion, National Institute of Health and Nutrition, Tokyo, Japan

5 Consolidated Research Institute for Advanced Science and Medical Care, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan

6 Department of Sports Health, Matsumoto University, Matsumoto, Japan

7 Faculty of Sport Sciences, Waseda University, Tokorozawa, Japan

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Public Health 2008, 8:291  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-8-291

Published: 18 August 2008



Since it is essential to maintain a high level of cardiorespiratory fitness to prevent life-style related disease, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan in 2006 proposed to determine the maximal oxygen uptake (Vo2max: mL·kg-1·min-1) reference values to prevent life-style related diseases (LSRD). Since muscle mass is one of the determinant factors of Vo2max, it could be used as the reference parameter for preventing LSRD. The aim of this study was to determine and quantify the muscle mass required to maintain the Vo2max reference values in Japanese women.


A total of 403 Japanese women aged 20–69 years were randomly allocated to either a validation or a cross-validation group. In the validation group, a multiple regression equation, which used a set of age and the percentage of muscle mass (%MM, percentage of appendicular lean soft tissue mass to body weight), as independent variables, was derived to estimate the Vo2max. After the equation was cross-validated, data from the two groups were pooled together to establish the final equation. The required %MM for each subject was recalculated by substituting the Vo2max reference values and her age in the final equation.


The mean value of required %MM was identified as (28.5 ± 0.35%). Thus, the present study proposed the required muscle mass (28.5% per body weight) in Japanese women to maintain the Vo2max reference values determined by the Japanese Ministry of Health Labour and Welfare.


The estimated required %MM (28.5% per body weight) can be used as one of the reference parameters of fitness level in Japanese women.