Strong or Weak Handgrip? Normative Reference Values for the German Population across the Life Course Stratified by Sex, Age, and Body Height

Steiber N (2016). Strong or Weak Handgrip? Normative Reference Values for the German Population across the Life Course Stratified by Sex, Age, and Body Height. PLoS ONE 11 (10): e0163917. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0163917.

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Project: Reassessing Ageing from a Population Perspective (RE-AGEING, FP7 323947)

Abstract

Handgrip strength is an important biomarker of healthy ageing and a powerful predictor of future morbidity and mortality both in younger and older populations. Therefore, the measurement of handgrip strength is increasingly used as a simple but efficient screening tool for health vulnerability. This study presents normative reference values for handgrip strength in Germany for use in research and clinical practice. It is the first study to provide normative data across the life course that is stratified by sex, age, and body height. The study used a nationally representative sample of test participants ages 17–90. It was based on pooled data from five waves of the German Socio-Economic Panel (2006–2014) and involved a total of 11,790 persons living in Germany (providing 25,285 observations). Handgrip strength was measured with a Smedley dynamometer. Results showed that peak mean values of handgrip strength are reached in men’s and women’s 30s and 40s after which handgrip strength declines in linear fashion with age. Following published recommendations, the study used a cut-off at 2 SD below the sex-specific peak mean value across the life course to define a ‘weak grip’. Less than 10% of women and men aged 65–69 were classified as weak according to this definition, shares increasing to about half of the population aged 80–90. Based on survival analysis that linked handgrip strength to a relevant outcome, however, a ‘critically weak grip’ that warrants further examination was estimated to commence already at 1 SD below the group-specific mean value.

Item Type: Article
Research Programs: World Population (POP)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2016 08:35
Last Modified: 27 Jan 2017 09:48
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/13862

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