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Adiposity and grip strength: a Mendelian randomisation study in UK Biobank

Pinto Pereira, Snehal, Garfield, Victoria, Farmaki, Aliki-Eleni, Tomlinson, David ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1349-1024, Fatemifar, Ghazaleh, Denaxas, Spiros, Finan, Chris and Cooper, Rachel ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3370-5720 (2022) Adiposity and grip strength: a Mendelian randomisation study in UK Biobank. BMC Medicine, 20 (1). p. 201. ISSN 1741-7015

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Abstract

Background: Muscle weakness, which increases in prevalence with age, is a major public health concern. Grip strength is commonly used to identify weakness and an improved understanding of its determinants is required. We aimed to investigate if total and central adiposity are causally associated with grip strength. Methods: Up to 470,786 UK Biobank participants, aged 38-73 years, with baseline data on four adiposity indicators (body mass index (BMI), body fat percentage (BF%), waist circumference (WC) and waist-hip-ratio (WHR)) and maximum grip strength were included. We examined sex-specific associations between each adiposity indicator and grip strength. We explored whether associations varied by age, by examining age-stratified associations (<50y,50-59y,60-64y,65y+). Using Mendelian randomisation (MR), we estimated the strength of the adiposity―grip strength associations using genetic instruments for each adiposity trait as our exposure. Results: In males, observed and MR associations were generally consistent: higher BMI and WC were associated with stronger grip; higher BF% and WHR were associated with weaker grip: 1-SD higher BMI was associated with 0.49kg(95%CI:0.45kg,0.53kg) stronger grip; 1-SD higher WHR was associated with 0.45kg(95%CI:0.41kg,0.48kg) weaker grip (covariate adjusted observational analyses). Associations of BMI and WC with grip strength were weaker at older ages: in males aged <50y and 65y+, 1-SD higher BMI was associated with 0.93kg(95%CI:0.84kg,1.01kg) and 0.13kg(95%CI:0.05kg,0.21kg) stronger grip, respectively. In females, higher BF% was associated with weaker grip and higher WC was associated with stronger grip; other associations were inconsistent. Conclusions: Using different methods to triangulate evidence, our findings suggest causal links between adiposity and grip strength. Specifically, higher BF% (in both sexes) and WHR (males only) were associated with weaker grip strength.

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