Objective: To estimate national and international temporal trends in handgrip strength for children and adolescents, and to examine relationships between trends in handgrip strength and trends in health-related and sociodemographic indicators.
Methods: Data were obtained through a systematic search of studies reporting temporal trends in the handgrip strength for apparently healthy 9–17 year-olds, and by examining large national fitness datasets. Temporal trends at the country-sex-age level were estimated by sample-weighted regression models relating the year of testing to mean handgrip strength. International and national trends were estimated by a post-stratified population-weighting procedure. Pearson’s correlations quantified relationships between trends in handgrip strength and trends in health-related/sociodemographic indicators.
Results: 2,216,320 children and adolescents from 13 high-, 5 upper-middle-, and 1 low-income countries/special administrative regions between 1967 and 2017 collectively showed a moderate improvement of 19.4% (95%CI: 18.4 to 20.4) or 3.8% per decade (95%CI: 3.6 to 4.0). The international rate of improvement progressively increased over time, with more recent values (post-2000) close to two times larger than those from the 1960s/1970s. Improvements were larger for children (9–12 years) compared to adolescents (13–17 years), and similar for boys and girls. Trends differed between countries, with relationships between trends in handgrip strength and trends in health-related/sociodemographic indicators negligible-to-weak and not statistically significant.
Conclusions: There has been a substantial improvement in absolute handgrip strength for children and adolescents since 1967. There is a need for improved international surveillance of handgrip strength, especially in low- and middle-income countries, to more confidently determine true international trends.
PROSPERO registration number: CRD42013003657.
This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Sports Medicine. The final authenticated version is available online at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-020-01265-0
Dooley, Faith L.; Kaster, Tori; Fitzgerald, John S.; Walch, Tanis J.; Annandale, Madison; Ferrar, Katia; Lang, Justin J.; Smith, Jordan J.; and Tomkinson, Grant R., "A Systematic Analysis of Temporal Trends in the Handgrip Strength of 2,216,320 Children and Adolescents Between 1967 and 2017" (2020). Education, Health & Behavior Studies Faculty Publications. 53.
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