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JFSF Vol 6, No 2, June 2021, p.43-49

doi: 10.22540/JFSF-06-043


Original Article

Poor handgrip strength determined clinically is associated with falls in older women

Silvia G.R. Neri1,2, Ricardo M. Lima1, Heitor S. Ribeiro1, Baruch Vainshelboim3

  1. Faculty of Physical Education, University of Brasilia, Brazil
  2. Estácio University Center of Brasilia, Brazil
  3. Cardiology Division, VA Palo Alto Health Care System/Stanford University, USA

Keywords: Accidental falls, Aging, Hand Strength, Muscle weakness, Sarcopenia


Objectives: To assess the association between poor handgrip strength (HGS) determined by clinical criterion and incidence of falls in older women. Methods: The cohort included 195 women (68.1±6.2 years) who were assessed for HGS (Jamar Dynamometer) at baseline and were prospectively followed for 18 months. FNIH Sarcopenia threshold of HGS adjusted for body mass index (<0.56) was used for clinical determination of poor HGS. Association between poor HGS and incidence of falls was analyzed using Cox hazard models in the total cohort and in a stratified analysis by balance status. Results: During the follow-up, 53 (27%) women experienced at least one fall. In a multivariable model, poor HGS was associated with approximately 3-fold increased risk for falls [Hazard Ratio (HR)=2.73, 95% Confidence Interval (CI)=1.28–5.82, p=0.009]. In a stratified analysis, women with impaired balance exhibited even greater risk for falls (HR=3.85, 95%CI=1.47–10.12, p=0.011), although no association was found in women with normal balance (p=0.459). Conclusions: Poor HGS based on clinical criterion is independently associated with higher risk of falls in older women, particularly in those with impaired balance. These results suggest potential prognostic value of FNIH Sarcopenia threshold for risk stratification and referring high-risk individuals to fall prevention programs.