Grip strength cut points for diabetes risk among apparently healthy U.S. adults

Elise C. Brown*, Duncan S. Buchan, Samar A. Madi, Breanne N. Gordon, Dorin Drignei

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
21 Downloads (Pure)


Early detection screening tools are needed to aid in preventing vascular complications associated with type 2 diabetes. As low muscular strength is linked to increased diabetes risk, the purpose of this study is to establish muscular strength cut points for determining diabetes risk using a large, nationally representative U.S. sample.
Using the 2011–2012 and 2013–2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data, 5,108 participants aged 20–80 years (68.6% aged 20–50 years; young male participants, n=1,813, mean age=33.43 years; young female participants, n=1,692, mean age=33.39 years; older male participants, n=813, mean age=59.92 years; older female participants, n=790, mean age=60.45 years) and free of common diabetes comorbidities were included. Muscular strength was assessed using a handgrip dynamometer, and normalized by adjusting for body weight. A logistic regression for survey data controlling for covariates was used to determine normalized grip strength cut points. Diabetes risk was determined using American Diabetes Association diagnostic criteria. Analyses were conducted summer of 2019.
Normalized grip strength significantly predicted diabetes (p=0.0332), and the cut points for detecting diabetes risk included 0.78 (young male participants), 0.57 (young female participants), 0.68 (older male participants), and 0.49 (older female participants). The risk percentages for diabetes and estimated rates reported for all subgroups were comparable, and the risk percentages included 6.84 (95% CI=5.32, 8.36; younger male participants), 7.49 (95% CI=5.87, 9.10; younger female participants), 5.76 (95% CI=2.34, 9.19, older male participants), and 4.27 (95% CI=2.44, 6.10; older female participants).
Normalized grip strength using the cut points proposed in this paper may be a useful screening tool for diabetes risk in apparently healthy, normotensive adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)757-765
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine
Issue number6
Early online date6 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020


  • grip strength
  • type 2 diabetes
  • early detection


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