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Heavy manual work throughout the working lifetime and muscle strength among men at retirement age

Heavy manual work throughout the working lifetime and muscle strength among men at retirement age
Heavy manual work throughout the working lifetime and muscle strength among men at retirement age
Introduction: Reductions in heavy manual work as a consequence of mechanisation might impact adversely on muscle strength at older ages. We investigated the association between grip strength at retirement age and lifetime occupational exposure to physically demanding activities. Grip strength is an important predictor of long-term health and physical function in older people.

Methods: Grip strength (maximum of three readings in each hand) was measured in men from the Hertfordshire Cohort Study at a single examination when their mean age was 65.8 (SD 2.9) years. Associations with lifetime occupational exposure (ascertained by questionnaire) to three activities (standing/walking ≥4 hours/day; lifting ≥25 kg; and energetic work sufficient to induce sweating) were assessed by multivariable linear regression with adjustment for various potential confounders.

Results: Complete data were available from 1,418 men who had worked for at least 20 years. After adjustment for age, height and weight, those with longer exposures to walking/standing and heavy lifting had lower grip strength, but the relationship disappeared after further adjustment for confounders. Working at physical intensity sufficient to induce sweating was not significantly associated with grip strength.

Conclusions: We found no evidence that physically demanding occupational activities increase hand grip strength at normal retirement age. Any advantages of regular physical occupational activity may have been obscured by unmeasured socio-economic confounders.
muscle strength, sarcopenia, occupation, manual work
1351-0711
284-286
Walker-Bone, K.
ad7d1336-ed2c-4f39-ade5-da84eb412109
D'Angelo, S.
13375ecd-1117-4b6e-99c0-32239f52eed6
Syddall, H.E.
a0181a93-8fc3-4998-a996-7963f0128328
Palmer, K.T.
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Cooper, C.
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Coggon, D.
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Sayer, A.A.
fb4c2053-6d51-4fc1-9489-c3cb431b0ffb
Walker-Bone, K.
ad7d1336-ed2c-4f39-ade5-da84eb412109
D'Angelo, S.
13375ecd-1117-4b6e-99c0-32239f52eed6
Syddall, H.E.
a0181a93-8fc3-4998-a996-7963f0128328
Palmer, K.T.
0cfe63f0-1d33-40ff-ae8c-6c33601df850
Cooper, C.
e05f5612-b493-4273-9b71-9e0ce32bdad6
Coggon, D.
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Sayer, A.A.
fb4c2053-6d51-4fc1-9489-c3cb431b0ffb

Walker-Bone, K., D'Angelo, S., Syddall, H.E., Palmer, K.T., Cooper, C., Coggon, D. and Sayer, A.A. (2016) Heavy manual work throughout the working lifetime and muscle strength among men at retirement age. Occupational & Environmental Medicine, 73 (4), 284-286. (doi:10.1136/oemed-2015-103293). (PMID:26896253)

Record type: Article

Abstract

Introduction: Reductions in heavy manual work as a consequence of mechanisation might impact adversely on muscle strength at older ages. We investigated the association between grip strength at retirement age and lifetime occupational exposure to physically demanding activities. Grip strength is an important predictor of long-term health and physical function in older people.

Methods: Grip strength (maximum of three readings in each hand) was measured in men from the Hertfordshire Cohort Study at a single examination when their mean age was 65.8 (SD 2.9) years. Associations with lifetime occupational exposure (ascertained by questionnaire) to three activities (standing/walking ≥4 hours/day; lifting ≥25 kg; and energetic work sufficient to induce sweating) were assessed by multivariable linear regression with adjustment for various potential confounders.

Results: Complete data were available from 1,418 men who had worked for at least 20 years. After adjustment for age, height and weight, those with longer exposures to walking/standing and heavy lifting had lower grip strength, but the relationship disappeared after further adjustment for confounders. Working at physical intensity sufficient to induce sweating was not significantly associated with grip strength.

Conclusions: We found no evidence that physically demanding occupational activities increase hand grip strength at normal retirement age. Any advantages of regular physical occupational activity may have been obscured by unmeasured socio-economic confounders.

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Accepted/In Press date: 5 February 2016
e-pub ahead of print date: 19 February 2016
Published date: 1 April 2016
Keywords: muscle strength, sarcopenia, occupation, manual work
Organisations: Faculty of Medicine

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 387200
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/387200
ISSN: 1351-0711
PURE UUID: 4ea7bbc1-1872-46e5-94e3-bec139588aa2
ORCID for K. Walker-Bone: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-5992-1459
ORCID for S. D'Angelo: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-7267-1837
ORCID for H.E. Syddall: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-0171-0306
ORCID for C. Cooper: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-3510-0709
ORCID for D. Coggon: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-1930-3987

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Date deposited: 16 Feb 2016 15:02
Last modified: 18 Feb 2021 17:20

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Contributors

Author: K. Walker-Bone ORCID iD
Author: S. D'Angelo ORCID iD
Author: H.E. Syddall ORCID iD
Author: K.T. Palmer
Author: C. Cooper ORCID iD
Author: D. Coggon ORCID iD
Author: A.A. Sayer

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