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Lower grip strength, excess adiposity independently tied to higher mortality risk

12 Sep 2017

Excess adiposity and lower grip strength (GS) independently predict higher risk of mortality, according to a study. Furthermore, the association between excess adiposity and higher mortality risk is attenuated, although not fully, by greater GS.

To examine the associations between GS, adiposity and mortality, data from the UK Biobank study, an ongoing prospective cohort of 403,199 adults aged 40 to 69 years, were analysed. Baseline data collection included measurements of GS and adiposity indicators, including body mass index (BMI). Researchers used age- and sex-specific GS quintiles and classified BMI according to clinical cutoffs.

A total of 8,287 all-cause deaths occurred over a median follow-up of 7.0 years. After adjustment for confounders and BMI, the highest GS quintile had 32 percent (95 percent CI, 26 to 38 percent) and 25 percent (16 to 33 percent) lower all-cause mortality risks for men and women, respectively. Obesity class II (BMI, ≥35 kg/m2) correlated with increased all-cause mortality risk.

There were relatively greater all-cause mortality hazards (not statistically significant in men) in the highest GS quintile and obesity class II category than the highest GS quintile and the normal weight category. However, the increased risk was relatively lower compared with the risk for the lowest GS quintile and obesity class II category.

Generally, there were lower all-cause mortality risks for obese but stronger individuals than for nonobese but weaker individuals. Similar patterns of associations were seen for cardiovascular mortality.

“Interventions and policies should focus on improving the muscular strength of the population regardless of their degree of adiposity,” researchers suggested.

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