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  • CDC: Nearly 20% of Adults 60 and Older Have Reduced Muscle Strength

    Nearly 2 in 10 US adults 60 and older have reduced muscle strength, according to new data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

    The findings are based on data collected in 2011 and 2012 on grip-strength tests of Americans 60 and older that divided participants into weak, intermediate, or normal groups based on sex-specific standards. The brief states that "these thresholds are related to the level of muscle weakness that is associated with slow gait speed, an important mobility impairment."

    Among the findings:

    • Overall, reduced muscle strength was present at nearly the same 20% rate for men and women, and while rates rose with age, they remained comparable between the sexes within age groups, with 1 exception: for adults 80 and over, women recorded a higher incidence of reduced strength, at 58%. The rate for men in that age group was 46%.
    • When analyzed by race and Hispanic origin, researchers found a higher prevalence of reduced muscle strength among non-Hispanic Asian Americans (40%) and Hispanic Americans (32%), than among non-Hispanic white Americans and non-Hispanic black Americans, who recorded 18% and 19% rates respectively.
    • Data also showed a correlation between reduced muscle strength and self-reported difficulty in rising from an armless chair, with 55% of the weak-strength group and 26% of the intermediate group reporting difficulty. The normal-strength group recorded difficulty in rising at a 13% rate.

    In assessing results of the grip-test, weak strength was defined as less than 26 kg for men, and less than 16 kg for women; intermediate was defined as between 26 and 31.9 kg for men, and between 16 and 19.9 kg for women; strength at or above 32 kg for men and 20 kg for women was defined as normal.

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