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BioMed Central, European Review of Aging and Physical Activity, 1(20), 2023

DOI: 10.1186/s11556-023-00323-6



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Grip strength cut-points from the Swiss DO-HEALTH population

This paper is made freely available by the publisher.
This paper is made freely available by the publisher.

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Data provided by SHERPA/RoMEO


Abstract Background While grip strength (GS) is commonly assessed using a Dynamometer, the Martin Vigorimeter was proposed as an alternative method especially in older adults. However, its reference values for Swiss older adults are missing. We therefore aimed to derive sex- and age-specific GS cut-points for the dominant and non-dominant hand (DH; NDH) using the Martin Vigorimeter. Additionally, we aimed to identify clinically relevant weakness and assess convergent validity with key markers of physical function and sarcopenia in generally healthy Swiss older adults. Methods This cross-sectional analysis includes baseline data from Swiss participants enrolled in DO-HEALTH, a 3-year randomized controlled trial in community-dwelling adults age 70 + . For both DH and NDH, 4 different definitions of weakness to derive GS cut-points by sex and age category (≤ 75 vs. > 75 years) were used: i) GS below the median of the 1st quintile, ii) GS below the upper limit of the 1st quintile, iii) GS below 2-standard deviation (SD) of the sex- and age-specific mean in DO-HEALTH Swiss healthy agers (i.e. individuals without major chronic diseases, disabilities, cognitive impairment or mental health issues) and iv) GS below 2.5-SD of the sex- and age-specific mean in DO-HEALTH Swiss healthy agers. To assess the proposed cut-points’ convergent validity, we assessed their association with gait speed, time to complete the 5 Times Sit-To-Stand (5TSTS) test, and present sarcopenia. Results In total, 976 participants had available GS at the DH (mean age 75.2, 62% women). According to the 4 weakness definitions, GS cut-points at the DH ranged from 29–42 and 25–39 kPa in younger and older women respectively, and from 51–69 and 31–50 kPa in younger and older men respectively. Overall, weakness prevalence ranged from 2.0% to 19.3%. Definitions of weakness using the median and the upper limit of the 1st GS quintile were most consistently associated with markers of physical performance. Weak participants were more likely to have lower gait speed, longer time to complete the 5TSTS, and sarcopenia, compared to participants without weakness. Conclusions In generally healthy Swiss older adults, weakness defined by the median or the upper limit of the 1st GS quintile may serve as reference to identify clinically relevant weakness. Additional research is needed in less healthy populations in order to derive representative population-based cut-points. Trial registration Identifier: NCT01745263.