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Handgrip strength, chronic physical conditions and physical multimorbidity in middle-aged and older adults in six low- and middle income countries

  • Davy Vancampfort
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author at: KU Leuven, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Tervuursevest 101, 3001 Leuven, Belgium.
    Affiliations
    KU Leuven, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Tervuursevest 101, 3001 Leuven, Belgium

    KU Leuven, University Psychiatric Center KU Leuven, Leuvensesteenweg 517, 3070 Kortenberg, Belgium
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  • Brendon Stubbs
    Affiliations
    Physiotherapy Department, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, Denmark Hills, London SE5 8AZ, United Kingdom

    Department of Psychological Medicine, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College London, De Crespigny Park, London, Box, SE5 8AF, United Kingdom
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  • Joseph Firth
    Affiliations
    NICM Health Research Institute, School of Science and Health, University of Western Sydney, Australia

    Division of Psychology and Mental Health, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, University of Manchester, United Kingdom
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  • Ai Koyanagi
    Affiliations
    Research and Development Unit, Parc Sanitari Sant Joan de Déu, Universitat de Barcelona, Fundació Sant Joan de Déu, Dr. Antoni Pujadas, 42, Sant Boi de Llobregat, Barcelona 08830, Spain

    Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Salud Mental, CIBERSAM, Monforte de Lemos 3-5 Pabellón 11, Madrid 28029, Spain
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Published:November 30, 2018DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejim.2018.11.007

      Highlights

      • Weak handgrip strength correlates with a higher prevalence of physical conditions.
      • Similar results were observed in middle-aged versus old age people.
      • Similar results were observed in female versus male participants.

      Abstract

      Purpose

      Handgrip strength provides a clinically validated marker of overall health and mortality risk. There are however, no multi-national population-based studies investigating the associations between handgrip strength, chronic physical conditions, and physical multimorbidity (i.e., ≥2 chronic conditions). We aimed to assess these associations among community-dwelling middle-aged and older adults using nationally representative data from six in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

      Methods

      Cross-sectional, community-based data on individuals aged ≥50 years from the World Health Organization's Study on Global Ageing and Adult Health were analyzed. Eleven chronic physical conditions (angina, arthritis, asthma, chronic back pain, chronic lung disease, diabetes, edentulism, hearing problems, hypertension, stroke, visual impairment) were assessed. Weak handgrip strength was defined as <30 kg for men and <20 kg for women. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was conducted.

      Results

      The final sample included 34,129 individuals (62.4 ± 16.0 years; 52.1% female). After adjustment for potential confounders, when compared to those with no chronic physical conditions, having 1, 2, 3, and ≥4 physical chronic conditions was associated with 1.22 (95%CI = 1.08–1.37), 1.29 (95%CI = 1.11–1.50), 1.41 (95%CI = 1.18–1.68), and 1.78 (95%CI = 1.46–2.18) times higher odds for weak handgrip strength. Similar associations were observed in the analyses stratified by age and sex. There was a moderate level of between-country heterogeneity in the association between weak handgrip strength and physical multimorbidity (Higgin's I2= 67.8%) with the pooled estimate being 1.26 (95%CI = 1.06–1.50).

      Conclusion

      Weaker handgrip strength is associated with a range of chronic physical conditions and multimorbidity. Future research should seek to establish the predictive value of this inexpensive measure for clinical use.

      Keywords

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