Loss of Strength A Top Health Concern In The Philippines

It is well-recognized that loss of strength is a reality for most adults as they age.  Loss of strength may be an indication of a decrease in muscle mass or not getting the right level of nutrition, otherwise known as nutrition gaps.  In the Philippines, strength becomes even more important as one ages.2 In fact, a survey among Filipinos aged 40 and up shows that loss of strength is their top health concern.1    In addition to the natural decrease in muscle mass as people get older, several factors such as poor food choices, decreased appetite or difficulty in digesting certain foods contribute to muscle loss.   

Nutritional Status Has An Impact On Muscle Health

Nutritional status has a great impact on muscle health and strength.  In a clinical nutrition review, lower absolute hand grip strength values were found in malnourished patients when compared to well-nourished hospitalized patients.

Among the measurements of voluntary muscle strength, hand grip strength is a validated and feasible bed side method, which makes it a frequently used tool for clinical purpose.4 Hand grip strength signifies the maximum strength resulting from the contraction of several hand muscles which lead to the bending of hand joints.

Hand grip strength is a recognized marker of nutritional status and an indicator of muscle function. In a physical performance test, adults with nutrition gaps had almost twice lower hand grip strength, took almost twice longer to stand and five times slower to step up and down compared to age-matched norm.

Furthermore, loss of strength may be an indication of nutrition gaps and of muscle mass loss. Not eating the right amount and the right kind of food can result in a decrease in muscle mass and function.4 Muscle loss can affect a person’s energy and ability to perform daily activities, such as walking, rising out of a chair, and gripping or lifting objects. 

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