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OBJECTIVE: to investigate the relationship between grip strength and health-related quality of life (HRQoL). DESIGN: cross-sectional survey within a cohort study design. SETTING: the county of Hertfordshire in the UK. PARTICIPANTS: a total of 2,987 community-dwelling men and women aged 59-73 years of age. MEASUREMENTS: grip strength was used as a marker of sarcopaenia and measured using a Jamar dynamometer. HRQoL was assessed using the eight domain scores of the Short Form-36 (SF-36) questionnaire, and subjects in the lowest sex-specific fifth of the distribution were classified as having 'poor' status for each domain. RESULTS: men and women with lower grip strength were significantly more likely to report a poor as opposed to excellent to fair overall opinion of their general health (GH) [odds ratio (OR) per kilogram decrease in grip strength = 1.13, 95% CI = 1.06-1.19, P < 0.001 in men, 1.13, 95% CI = 1.07-1.20, P < 0.001 in women]. Among men, after adjustment for age, size, physical activity and known co-morbidity, decreased grip strength was associated with increased prevalence of poor SF-36 scores for the physical functioning (PF) (OR per kilogram decrease in grip strength = 1.03, 95% CI = 1.01-1.06, P = 0.007) and GH domains (OR = 1.03, 95% CI = 1.01-1.05, P = 0.01). Similar associations were seen in women. CONCLUSIONS: our findings suggest that lower grip strength is associated with reduced HRQoL in older men and women. This does not appear to be explained by age, size, physical activity or co-morbidity and may reflect the link between sarcopaenia and generalised frailty. Individuals with sarcopaenia may benefit from interventions to improve muscle mass and strength before the onset of chronic disorders usually associated with impaired HRQoL.

Original publication




Journal article


Age ageing

Publication Date





409 - 415


Accidental Falls, Aged, Bronchitis, Cardiovascular Diseases, Cohort Studies, Comorbidity, Cross-Sectional Studies, Diabetes Mellitus, Female, Hand Strength, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Muscular Atrophy, Quality of Life, Surveys and Questionnaires, United Kingdom