Get a Grip! Handgrip Strength as a Health Screening Tool

Molly Eckman, Chris Gigliotti, Staci Sutermaster, and Khanjan Mehta

Global Humanitarian Technology Conference

Eckman, M., Gigliotti, S., Sutermaster, S., Mehta, K., “Get a Grip! Handgrip Strength as a Health Screening Tool,” Global Humanitarian Technology Conference, San Jose, CA, Oct 2014


An individual’s handgrip strength (HGS), measured by a hand dynamometer, has shown significant correlations with clinical conditions such as malnutrition, type 2 diabetes, functional disability, and overall quality of life. Existing studies have indicated that HGS testing is a promising tool to screen for disease. This is of interest to resource-constrained areas because barriers to healthcare have created a large need for simple and effective medical screening devices. Inexpensive, ruggedized dynamometers to measure HGS already exist on the market. Despite these opportunities to use HGS as a screening tool, the literature on HGS is incomplete and not cohesive. This article provides a synthesis of the recognized relationships and correlations between HGS and diverse clinical conditions. Established statistically sound associations as well as compelling gaps in the knowledge base are discussed. Pathways to integrate HGS devices into the emerging Community Health Worker (CHW) infrastructure as a health screening and income-generating tool in developing countries are described. The goal of this article is to inform research and entrepreneurial initiatives that can collectively leverage handgrip dynamometers as effective and efficient health screening tools in low-resource contexts.


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