Background

Sacropenia and muscle weakness is important public health and clinical issue which may be associated with falling down and disability among elderly population. This study evaluates the association between anthropometric characteristics and grip strength (GS) among elderly population in Taiwan.

Methods

From 2017-2018, we conducted a community-based elderly population health survey in Chiayi County, Taiwan (The CCEH survey). Subjects older than 65 years and lived in Chiayi county will be invited to attend this survey. General demographic data and lifestyle patterns were measured using standard questionnaire. Anthropometric characteristics such as body weight, body mass index (BMI), waist and hip circumference and body fat were measured using standard methods. The grip strength was measured using digital dynamometers (TKK5101) method.

Results

Total 3,739 elderly subjects (1,600 males and 2,139 females) with the mean age of 76 years (from 65 to 85 year old) were recruited. The mean GS was 32.8 +/- 7.1 kg for male and was 21.6 +/- 4.8 kg for female (p< 0.001). Body height, body weight, BMI, waist circumference and body fat were all positively correlated with GS (p< 0.001) in both genders. However, in multiple regression analyses, after adjusting for age, body height, body weight and other potential confounders, the waist circumference is negatively associated with GS (for male beta = -0.218, p< 0.001 and for female beta = -0.005, p< 0.001). More interestingly, the elderly subjects with the same BMI but larger waist circumference had lower GS than normal waist (p<0.001).

Conclusions

In this study, the overweight and mild obese elderly subjects had higher GS than the normal weight subjects. More importantly, the waist circumference is the only anthropometric variable inversely associated with GS in both genders. This suggested that the central obese elderly subjects have the lower GS which is an important factor to predict muscle weakness among elderly Taiwanese population.