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BACKGROUND: Lower grip strength on admission to hospital is known to be associated with longer stay, but the link between customary grip and risk of future admission is less clear. OBJECTIVE: To compare grip strength with subsequent risk of hospital admission among community-dwelling older people in a U.K. setting. DESIGN: Cohort study with linked administrative data. SETTING: Hertfordshire, U.K. SUBJECTS: A total of 2,997 community-dwelling men and women aged 59-73 years at baseline. METHODS: The Hertfordshire Cohort Study (HCS) participants completed a baseline assessment between 1998 and 2004, during which grip strength was measured. Hospital Episode Statistics and mortality data to March 2010 were linked with the HCS database. Statistical models were used to investigate the association of grip strength with subsequent elective, emergency and long-stay hospitalisation and readmission. RESULTS: There was a statistically significant negative association between grip strength and all classes of admission in women [unadjusted hazard ratio per standard deviation (SD) decrease in grip strength for: any admission/death 1.10 (95% CI: 1.06, 1.14), elective admission/death 1.09 (95% CI: 1.05, 1.13), emergency admission/death 1.21 (95% CI: 1.13, 1.31), long-stay admission/death 1.22 (95% CI: 1.13, 1.32) and unadjusted relative risk per SD decrease in grip strength for 30-day readmission/death 1.30 (95% CI: 1.19, 1.43)]. These associations remained significant after adjustment for potential confounding factors (age, height, weight for height, smoking, alcohol, social class). In men, unadjusted rates for emergency admission/death, long-stay admission/death and readmission/death were significantly associated with grip strength; associations that similarly withstood adjustment. CONCLUSION: This study provides the first evidence that grip strength among community-dwelling men and women in the U.K. is associated with risk of hospital admission over the following decade.

Original publication




Journal article


Age ageing

Publication Date





954 - 959


Hospital Episode Statistics, grip strength, hospital admission, hospitalisation, older people, readmission, Aged, Female, Hand Strength, Hospitalization, Humans, Independent Living, Male, Middle Aged, Predictive Value of Tests, Risk Factors, United Kingdom