Age trajectories of grip strength: cross-sectional and longitudinal data among 8,342 Danes aged 46 to 102

Ann Epidemiol. 2006 Jul;16(7):554-62. doi: 10.1016/j.annepidem.2005.10.006. Epub 2006 Jan 10.


Purpose: The purpose is to study the age trajectory of hand-grip strength after the age of 45 years.

Methods: In this study, we use data from three large nationwide population-based surveys of Danes aged 45 to 102 years with a total of 8342 participants with grip-strength measurements and up to 4 years of follow-up. Grip strength was measured by using a portable hand dynamometer.

Results: Grip strength declines throughout life for both males and females, but among the oldest women, the longitudinal curve reaches a horizontal plateau. The course of the decline is estimated by using full information in the longitudinal data and is found to be almost linear in the age span of 50 to 85 years. In this age span, mean annual grip-strength loss is estimated to be 0.59 (0.02) (SE) kg for men and 0.31 (0.01) kg for women.

Conclusion: This study confirms the previously reported grip-strength decline with increasing age. Estimates were obtained by using full-information methods from large population-representative studies. Equations of expected grip strength, as well as tables with sex-, age-, and height-stratified reference data, provide an opportunity to include grip-strength measurement in clinical care in similar populations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Twin Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / pathology
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Forearm / pathology
  • Hand
  • Hand Strength / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Contraction*
  • Muscles / pathology*
  • Reference Values