For young children a healthy muscle mass is critical to motor development and participation in play and sports that can engender a lifelong love of physical activity.
A high level of muscle mass can reduce the risk developing diabetes in adulthood. More skeletal muscle means more insulin receptor sites, which help with the uptake and regulation of glucose (sugar) deposited in the bloodstream after eating. 80% of glucose uptake occurs in skeletal muscle so the more there is, the easier it is for the body to regulate insulin levels and minimize excess fat.
In the elderly, muscle mass is particularly important for maintaining mobility, supporting the joints and in maintaining good balance, thereby helping to minimize the risk of falls and fractures. A good or high level of muscle mass is also fast becoming recognized as a key indicator for longevity. Muscle tissue naturally declines with age. A person can lose up to 50% of their muscle mass between the ages of 20 and 90 – another reason why it is important to keep muscle mass levels within the healthy range at every life stage.