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Occupational activity across adult life and its association with grip strength
  1. Rachel Cooper
  1. Correspondence toInvited commentary for Occupational & Environmental Medicine on: ‘Heavy manual work throughout the working lifetime and muscle strength among men at retirement age’, Walker-Bone K et al Dr Rachel Cooper, MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing at UCL, 33 Bedford Place, London WC1B 5JU, UK; rachel.cooper{at}ucl.ac.uk

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Grip strength is commonly used in epidemiological studies as a marker of upper body muscle strength.1 Weaker grip strength from early adulthood onwards has been related to a wide range of subsequent health outcomes including higher mortality rates,2 ,3 and increased risk of mobility disability4 and chronic disease.3 ,5 In addition, muscle weakness is a key component of common age-related disorders including frailty and sarcopenia. Identifying modifiable factors associated with grip strength across life is thus important.

Evidence from intervention studies across the adult age range suggests that specific types of activity, namely resistance training, improve grip strength in the short term.6 ,7 However, what is less clear is whether members of the general population undertake the ‘right’ types and intensity of activity as part of their everyday lives to realise these benefits and whether these benefits are maintained in the longer term. As highlighted by Walker-Bone et al8 in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, one way in which …

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