University Of Tasmania

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Muscular strength measured across the life-course and the metabolic syndrome

Background and aims: Low muscular strength associates with the metabolic syndrome (MetS). However, how muscular strength measured at different life stages contribute to the development of MetS is unknown. This study compared the contribution of muscular strength measured in youth, young- and mid-adulthood with MetS in midlife.

Methods and results: Prospective longitudinal study of 267 Childhood Determinants of Adult Health Study participants who between 1985 and 2019 had measures of muscular strength (dominant grip strength) at three life stages (youth = 9-15 years, young adulthood = 26-36 years, mid-adulthood = 36-49 years) and had their MetS status assessed in mid-adulthood. Bayesian relevant life-course exposure models quantified associations between muscular strength at each life stage with MetS and estimated the maximum accumulated effect of lifelong muscular strength. The contribution of muscular strength at each life stage with MetS was equal (youth = 38%, young adulthood = 28%, mid-adulthood = 34%). A one standard deviation increase in cumulative muscular strength was associated with 46% reduced odds of MetS. Of all MetS components, muscular strength was most strongly negatively associated with high waist circumference.

Conclusion: A life-course approach demonstrated reduced odds of MetS in midlife was associated with cumulatively high muscular strength since youth. This supports efforts to promote physical fitness throughout life.


Publication title

Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases










Menzies Institute for Medical Research


Elsevier Ltd

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Rights statement

© 2022 The Italian Diabetes Society, the Italian Society for the Study of Atherosclerosis, the Italian Society of Human Nutrition and the Department of Clinical Medicine and Surgery, Federico II University. Published by Elsevier B.V.

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Public health (excl. specific population health) not elsewhere classified