Grip Strength as a Marker of Hypertension and Diabetes in Healthy Weight Adults

Am J Prev Med. 2015 Dec;49(6):850-8. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2015.05.025. Epub 2015 Jul 29.


Introduction: Muscle strength may play a role in cardiometabolic disease. We examined the relationship between hand grip strength and diabetes and hypertension in a sample of healthy weight adults.

Methods: In 2015, we analyzed the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2011-2012 for adults aged ≥20 years with healthy BMIs (between 18.5 and <25) and no history of cardiovascular disease (unweighted n=1,467; weighted n=61,587,139). Hand grip strength was assessed with a dynamometer. Diabetes was based on hemoglobin A1c level and reported diabetes diagnosis. Hypertension was based on measured blood pressure and reported hypertension diagnosis.

Results: Individuals with undiagnosed diabetes compared with individuals without diabetes had lower grip strength (51.9 vs 69.8, p=0.0001), as did individuals with diagnosed diabetes compared with individuals without diabetes (61.7 vs 69.8, p=0.008). Mean grip strength was lower among individuals with undiagnosed hypertension compared with individuals without hypertension (63.5 vs 71.5, p=0.008) as well as among individuals with diagnosed hypertension compared with those without hypertension (60.8 vs 71.5, p<0.0001). In adjusted analyses controlling for age, sex, race, smoking status, and first-degree relative with disease, mean grip strength was lower for undiagnosed diabetes (β=-10.02, p<0.0001) and diagnosed diabetes (β=-8.21, p=0.03) compared with individuals without diabetes. In adjusted analyses, grip strength was lower among individuals with undiagnosed hypertension (β=-6.6, p=0.004) and diagnosed hypertension (β=-4.27, p=0.04) compared with individuals without hypertension.

Conclusions: Among healthy weight adults, combined grip strength is lower in individuals with diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes and hypertension.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers
  • Diabetes Mellitus / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Hand Strength / physiology*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / diagnosis*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged


  • Biomarkers