Prevalence and Trends of Handgrip Strength Asymmetry in the United States.

TitlePrevalence and Trends of Handgrip Strength Asymmetry in the United States.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsMcGrath, R, Lang, JJ, Clark, BC, Cawthon, PM, Black, K, Kieser, J, Fraser, BJ, Tomkinson, GR
JournalAdv Geriatr Med Res
KeywordsHandgrip strength, United States

BACKGROUND: Strength asymmetries are a type of muscle function impairment that is associated with several health conditions. However, the prevalence of these asymmetries among adults from the United States remains unknown. We sought to estimate the prevalence and trends of handgrip strength (HGS) asymmetry in American adults.

METHODS: The unweighted analytic sample included 23,056 persons aged at least 50-years with information on HGS for both hands from the 2006-2016 waves of the Health and Retirement Study. A handgrip dynamometer measured HGS, with the highest recorded values for each hand used to calculate asymmetry. Persons were categorized into the following asymmetry severity categories: (1) >10%, (2) >20.0%, and (3) >30.0%. Survey weights were used to generate nationally-representative asymmetry estimates.

RESULTS: Overall, there were no statistically significant trends in HGS asymmetry categories over time. The prevalence of HGS asymmetry in the 2014-2016 wave was 53.4% (CI: 52.2-54.4), 26.0% (CI: 25.0-26.9), and 11.7% (CI: 10.9-12.3) for asymmetry at >10%, >20%, and >30%, respectively. HGS asymmetry was generally higher in older Americans compared to middle-aged adults at each wave. In the 2014-2016 wave, >30% asymmetry prevalence was 13.7% (CI: 12.7-14.6) in females and 9.3% (CI: 8.4-10.2) in males. Some differences in asymmetry prevalence by race and ethnicity were observed.

CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of asymmetry was generally high, especially in women and older adults. Ongoing surveillance of strength asymmetry will help monitor trends in muscle dysfunction, guide screening for disablement, identify subpopulations at risk for asymmetry, and inform relevant interventions.

Citation Key13417
PubMed ID37502008
PubMed Central IDPMC10373124
Grant ListR01 AG067758 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
R15 AG072348 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States