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Association of grip strength, upper arm circumference, and waist circumference with dementia in older adults of the wise study: A cross-sectional analysis



We examined the associations of handgrip strength, upper arm circumference, and waist circumference with dementia among Singapore older adults.


Cross-sectional epidemiological study.


Residential homes, day care centres, nursing homes and institutions.


2,565 men and women aged 60 years and above who participated in the Well-being of the Singapore Elderly (WiSE) study in 2013.


Socio-demographic correlates, dietary habits, health behaviours, grip strength, upper arm circumference, and waist circumference were collected. Grip strength was measured using a hand dynamometer with the dominant hand. Upper arm circumference was measured using a measuring tape around the thickest part of the upper arm while waist circumference measured in centimetres was measured at the narrowest part of the body between the chest and hips for women, and measured at the level of the umbilicus for men. Dementia was diagnosed using the 10/66 dementia diagnostic criteria.


Mean grip strength was 13.07 kg (SE=0.60) for people with dementia and 21.98 kg (SE=0.26) for people without dementia. After adjusting for all factors, grip strength remained significantly associated with dementia (p <0.0001). Upper arm circumference was associated with dementia (p <0.0001) but this association was only significant in the univariate analysis. Waist circumference was not significantly associated with dementia.


Lower grip strength was independently associated with dementia in the older adult population in Singapore. Further research needs to be done to ascertain whether this association exists for specific types of dementia and look into the relationship of other anthropometric measurements with dementia in Singapore.

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Correspondence to Hui Lin Ong.

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Ong, H.L., Chang, S.H.S., Abdin, E. et al. Association of grip strength, upper arm circumference, and waist circumference with dementia in older adults of the wise study: A cross-sectional analysis. J Nutr Health Aging 20, 996–1001 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12603-015-0643-4

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Key words

  • Grip strength
  • arm circumference
  • waist circumference
  • dementia
  • Singapore