Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 2013;39(6):599-608    pdf full text


Does a history of physical exposures at work affect hand-grip strength in midlife? A retrospective cohort study in Denmark

by Møller A, Reventlow S, Hansen ÅM, Andersen LL, Siersma V, Lund R, Avlund K, Andersen JH, Mortensen OS

Objective The aim of this cohort study was to examine associations between physical exposures throughout working life and hand-grip strength (HGS) in midlife.

Methods The Copenhagen Aging and Midlife Biobank (CAMB) provided data about employment and HGS for 3843 Danes. Individual job histories, including duration of employment in specific jobs, were assigned exposures from a job exposure matrix. Exposures were standardized to ton-years (lifting 1000 kg each day in one year), stand-years (standing/walking for six hours each day in one year) and kneel-years (kneeling for one hour each day in one year). The effects of exposure-years on HGS were analyzed as linear effects and cubic splines in multivariate regression models, adjusted for potential confounders.

Results Mean age was 59 years among both genders and HGS was 49.19 kg [standard deviation (SD) 8.42] and 30.61 kg (SD 5.49) among men and women, respectively. Among men, exposure to kneel-years was associated with higher HGS [>0.030 kg (P=0.007) per exposure-year]. Ton- and stand-years were not associated with HGS among either men or women in linear analyses. In spline regression analyses, associations between ton- and stand-years and HGS were non-linear and primarily positive among men. Among women, the associations were non-linear and, according to ton-years, primarily negatively associated with HGS but statistically insignificant.

Conclusion A history of physical exposures at work explained only a minor part of the variation in HGS, though exposure to kneeling throughout working life was associated with a slightly higher HGS among men. Exposure to lifting and standing/walking was not associated with HGS.

This article refers to the following texts of the Journal: 1992;18(2):105-112  2000;26(2):161-168
The following article refers to this text: 2017;43(5):415-425