Muscle Weakness Is Associated With Diabetes in Older Mexicans: The Mexican Health and Aging Study

Mark D. Peterson, Ryan McGrath, Peng Zhang, Kyriakos S. Markides, Soham Al Snih, Rebeca Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Background The risk of cardiovascular problems due to diabetes mellitus is highest among older Mexicans, and yet what remains to be determined is the association between muscle weakness and diabetes in this population. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine the association between muscle strength and diabetes among Mexican adults greater than 50 years of age. Design Cross-sectional. Setting National sample of households in both urban and rural areas. Participants A subsample of 1841 individuals aged 50 years and older was included from the 2012 Mexican Health and Aging Study. Measurements Strength was assessed using a hand-held dynamometer, and the single largest reading from either hand was normalized to body mass (normalized grip strength [NGS]). Conditional inference tree analyses were used to identify sex-specific NGS weakness thresholds. Linear regression was used to examine the association between NGS and HbA1c, and logistic regression was used to assess the association between weakness and risk of diabetes (HbA1c ≥ 6.5% [≥48 mmol/mol]), after controlling for age, sex, and waist circumference. Results NGS was inversely associated with HbA1c (β = −1.56; P < .001). Optimal sex-specific NGS weakness thresholds to detect diabetes were ≤0.46 and ≤0.30 for men and women, respectively. Weakness was associated with significantly increased odds of diabetes (odds ratio, 1.69; 95% confidence interval, 1.37-2.10), even after adjusting for age, sex, and waist circumference. Conclusions NGS was robustly associated with diabetes and other cardiometabolic risk factors in older Mexicans. This simple screen may serve as a valuable tool to identify adults that are at risk for negative health consequences or early mortality and who might benefit from lifestyle interventions to reduce risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)933-938
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Medical Directors Association
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016


  • Insulin resistance
  • aging
  • diabetes
  • epidemiology
  • muscle weakness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing
  • Health Policy
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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