Osteoporosis: muscle strength may be more important than muscle mass

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  • Diminished muscle strength may be an independent risk factor for osteoporosis.

Why this matters

  • The loss of muscle mass and strength may play a role in osteoporosis.
  • The elderly may experience a faster loss of muscle strength than muscle mass.
  • Such strength may correlate with mortality and hospitalization, suggesting it may be a more important intervention target than lean body mass.
  • The relationships among grip strength, muscle mass, and osteoporosis in the elderly are unclear.

Key results

  • Grip strength, but not muscle mass, decreased significantly with age.
  • Participants with lower grip strength were likelier to have osteoporosis (unadjusted, P=.007; adjusted for age, sex, and other variables, P=.023).
  • Muscle mass did not correlate with osteoporosis in either unadjusted or a fully adjusted model (unadjusted, P=.843; adjusted, P=.205).

Study design

  • Cross-sectional study of 516 men and 652 women, all suburban Chinese ≥60 y old, who underwent assessments of performance, grip strength, muscle mass, and fat mass, as well as bone mineral density with quantitative ultrasound.
  • Funding: None disclosed.


  • Causal relationships cannot be derived from the study design.
  • Bedridden individuals not included.