This study aimed to assess the association between grip strength and glucose regulation in a cross-sectional setting.
Using data from the Helsinki Birth Cohort Study, 924 men and 953 women were studied at a mean age of 61.6 years. Grip strength was assessed in the dominant hand using a Newtest Grip Force dynamometer. A standard 2-h 75 g oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) was used to define glucose regulation. The participants were classified into four groups: normoglycaemia, prediabetes (impaired fasting glucose or impaired glucose tolerance), newly diagnosed diabetes and previously known diabetes. The association between grip strength and glucose regulation was assessed using multiple linear regression models.
Prediabetes was diagnosed in 32.2% and diabetes in 8.4% using the OGTT. A total of 7.8% of the individuals had previously known diabetes. Compared to individuals with normoglycaemia, grip strength was lower for those with newly diagnosed diabetes (-1.8 kg, 95% CI -3.2 to -0.5) as well as those with previously known diabetes (-1.8 kg, 95% CI -3.2 to -0.4) after adjusting for covariates (age, sex, body mass index, physical activity, education and smoking). No difference in grip strength was found when comparing those with prediabetes and normoglycaemia.
In adults, grip strength was lower among those with known and newly diagnosed diabetes compared to those with normoglycaemia. Together with previous findings on associations between grip strength and chronic diseases, these results support the use of grip strength as an overall health marker in adults.