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Abstract

Purpose. To develop normative reference values for grip strength of males and females between the ages of 50 and 89 years old that can be used by health care professionals in clinical settings.

Methods. This study assessed data from a sample of males and females between the ages of 50 and 89 years old who participated in the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) sponsored by the National Institute on Aging. The Health and Retirement Study collected data from 6,266 participants in a physical measures sub-study. Grip strength was assessed in a standing position with the shoulder adducted and elbow flexed to 90 degrees. One practice trial was allowed and then the participant performed 2 maximal effort trials using each hand. Right and left hand mean scores were calculated. The HRS data were reported in kilograms.

Results. Subjects were stratified by sex and age. Each stratum was defined using 5-year intervals, male or female, and by right or left hand. Mean grip strength, standard deviation, sample size, and percentile ranks from 5 to 95 at intervals of 5 are reported for each stratum in both kilograms and pounds.

Conclusion. The normative values provided in this report should advance the clinical utility of grip strength as a physical measure. Percentile ranks are easy to determine and interpret for both the patient and clinician. Clinicians will benefit from the results of this study by better assessing the physical status of their patients, developing better goals for their patients, and providing better education to their patients on this aspect of physical health.

Author Bio(s)

James R. Roush, PT, PhD, ATC is a professor in the Physical Therapy Program at A. T. Still University of Health Sciences. Kaylee Gombold, PT, DPT, is a physical therapist in Minnesota. R. Curtis Bay, PhD, is a professor of Statistics in the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies at A. T. Still University of Health Sciences.

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