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John Batsis: The Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts? The Importance of Fat and Muscle in the Aging Process.

February 26, 2021 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

John Batsis

On February 26, 2021, John Batsis, an Associate Professor, Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gillings School of Global Public Health, will present “The Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts? The Importance of Fat and Muscle in the Aging Process” as part of the Carolina Population Center’s 2020-21 Interdisciplinary Research Seminar Series. This year, the CPC Interdisciplinary Research Seminars will be open to both CPC members and Social Epidemiology program members.


With the population of adults aged 65 years and older increasing, so is the prevalence of obesity and the risk of developing age-related loss of muscle mass and strength, termed sarcopenia. These two disease entities independently increase a person’s risk for impaired physical function, disability, and death. Yet, a subset is classified as having sarcopenic obesity which is thought to be at higher risk for synergistic complications from both sarcopenia and obesity. This presentation will initially describe the importance and consequences of obesity, sarcopenia, and the consequences of the two in older adults. The emerging literature on health promotion will be presented along with the critical gaps and existing barriers that need to be overcome to advance the field and translate findings into clinical practice.


Dr. Batsis is a geriatrician and health services researcher that recently joined the faculty at UNC Chapel Hill in September 2020. Previously, he was on faculty at Dartmouth-Hitchcock and the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth since 2008. He has considerable experience in large datasets analyses where he has evaluated important relationships between the changes observed in fat and muscle with aging (obesity and sarcopenia) on important outcomes relevant to older adults, including mortality and physical function. His specific interests are in the synergistic impact of obesity and low muscle mass and strength, sarcopenic obesity, and has published extensively in this field. Dr. Batsis recently is a participating member on an International Consensus Definition workgroup for this syndrome.

His recent work has focused on translating large-dataset epidemiology-based work to clinical trials in older adults. He is focusing on obesity and the use of technology to improve one’s health. Dr. Batsis has a keen interest in health promotion through the lifecourse and has focused his interests in body composition changes during weight loss efforts. He has written explicitly on the importance of close monitoring in this population. Importantly, he leverages his ongoing experience in providing clinical care in the outpatient and nursing home settings to older adults with multimorbidity and frailty which inform his research work.

Dr. Batsis is currently funded by the National Institute on Aging and has published over 140 papers. He has received several clinical and research accolades having received the New Investigator Award from the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) and was selected to the prestigious TidesWell Emerging Leaders in Aging Program for mid-career faculty in geriatrics. He is heavily involved at the national level as a long-standing member of the research committee of AGS and the Gerontological Society of America, and was a member of The Obesity Society’s Clinical Committee. He recently was appointed to the editorial boards of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society and the Journal of Gerontological Medical Sciences.

This event will be held on Zoom. You can register here. We will post a recording after the talk. You can see previous events here.


February 26, 2021
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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