Low Grip Strength Linked to Increased Risk of Incident Type 2 Diabetes

Pavankumar Kamat


August 18, 2021


  • Low grip strength was associated with an increased risk of incident type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) in both men and women, independent of major confounding factors.

  • These associations were stronger when grip strength was expressed relative to body weight, reflecting the importance of muscle quality.

Why this matters

  • Findings suggest that assessing grip strength is a simple and cheap method that could be used in clinical practice to identify people with muscle weakness who are at risk of developing T2DM.

Study design

  • A prospective cohort study of 166,894 participants (73,100 men; 93,794 women) from the UK Biobank (2006-2010).

  • The association between grip strength (expressed in absolute and relative units) and incident T2DM was evaluated.

  • Funding: None.

Key results

  • During a median follow-up of 5.4 years, 3713 participants developed T2DM.

  • Men (adjusted HR [aHR], 1.50; 95% CI, 1.30-1.73; P<.0001) and women (aHR, 1.25; 95% CI, 1.06-1.47; P=.008) in the lowest quintile of absolute grip strength had a higher risk of incident T2DM compared with men and women in the highest quintile.

  • The risk of diabetes was more than double for men (aHR, 2.22; 95% CI, 1.84-2.67) and 96% higher for women (aHR, 1.96; 95% CI, 1.52-2.53; P<.0001 for both) in the lowest quintile of relative grip strength compared with the highest quintile.


  • UK Biobank is not representative of the entire UK general population.


Boonpor J, Parra-Soto S, Petermann-Rocha F, Ferrari G, Welsh P, Pell JP, Sattar N, Gill JMR, Ho FK, Gray SR, Celis-Morales C. Associations between grip strength and incident type 2 diabetes: findings from the UK Biobank prospective cohort study. BMJ Open Diabetes Res Care. 2021;9(1). doi: 10.1136/bmjdrc-2020-001865. PMID: 34353878.  View full text

This clinical summary originally appeared on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.


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