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JFSF Vol 7, No 4, December 2022, p.183-191

doi: 10.22540/JFSF-07-183

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Original Article

Is handgrip strength a useful tool to detect slow walking speed in older Indian adults: A cross-sectional study among geriatric outpatients in a tertiary care hospital in South India

Reuben Jerrald Felix1, Rakesh Mishra1, Jini Chirackel Thomas1, Benny Paul Wilson1, Antonisamy Belavendra2, Gopinath Kango Gopal1

  1. Department of Geriatrics, Christian Medical College Vellore, India
  2. Department of Biostatistics, Christian medical College Vellore, India

Keywords: Frailty, Gait, Handgrip strength, Sarcopenia, Walking speed


Abstract

Objectives: To determine whether handgrip strength can be used as a proxy for detecting slow walking speed in older adults. Measuring walking speed in older adults can be challenging as cognitive and functional decline may have a significant impact on test performance. Methods: Hundred subjects aged >/= 60 were recruited. Slow walking speed was defined as walking speed <1.0 m/s. Handgrip strength was measured using handheld dynamometer. Multiple linear regression analysis was used to determine the relationship between the two. Results: The mean age of the study participants was 67.8±6.2 years. There were 63 males and 37 females. The mean handgrip strength of the participants was 23±5.9 kgs. Older subjects had slow gait speed (r=-0.40, p<0.001) while patients with higher BMI (r=0.36, p<0.001), handgrip strength (r=0.72, p<0.001) and appendicular lean mass (r=0.53, p<0.001) had normal gait speed. On multiple linear regression analysis, only handgrip strength (OR 0.71; 95% CI 0.58-0.87, p=0.001) and nutritional status (OR 8.60; 95% CI 1.98 - 37.40, p=0.004) were found to have a significant association with walking speed. Conclusions: Our study shows that handgrip strength assessment can be used as a surrogate indicator for detecting slow walking speed. Large population studies are warranted to examine its validity.
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