Poverty and InequalitySexual and Reproductive HealthFamily, Maternal & Child HealthMethodology

Association between Race, Household Income and Grip Strength in Middle- and Older-Aged Adults

TitleAssociation between Race, Household Income and Grip Strength in Middle- and Older-Aged Adults
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsThorpe, RJ, Simonsick, E, Zonderman, A, Evans, MK
JournalEthn Dis
Date PublishedOct 20
ISBN Number1049-510X (Print)1049-510x
Accession Number27773976
KeywordsAging, Health disparities, Physical function, race

BACKGROUND: Poor grip strength is an indicator of frailty and a precursor to functional limitations. Although poor grip strength is more prevalent in older disabled African American women, little is known about the association between race and poverty-related disparities and grip strength in middle-aged men and women. METHODS: We examined the cross-sectional relationship between race, socioeconomic status as assessed by household income, and hand grip strength in men and women in the Healthy Aging in Neighborhoods of Diversity across the Life Span study. General linear models examined grip strength (maximum of two trials on both sides) by race and household income adjusted for age, weight, height, hand pain, education, insurance status, family income, and two or more chronic conditions. RESULTS: Of 2,091 adults, 422(45.4%) were male, 509(54.8%) were African American, and 320 (34.5%) were living in households with incomes below 125% of the federal poverty level (low SES). In adjusted models, African American women had greater grip strength than White women independent of SES (low income household: 29.3 vs 26.9 kg and high income household: 30.5 vs. 28.3kg; P<.05 for both); whereas in men, only African Americans in the high income household group had better grip strength than Whites (46.3 vs. 43.2; P<.05). CONCLUSIONS: The relationship between grip strength, race and SES as assessed by household income varied in this cohort. Efforts to develop grip strength norms and cut points that indicate frailty and sarcopenia may need to be race- and income-specific.