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Am J Phys Anthropol. 2018 Dec;167(4):760-776. doi: 10.1002/ajpa.23704. Epub 2018 Sep 27.

Coming to grips with economic development: Variation in adult hand grip strength during health transition in Vanuatu.

Author information

1
Department of Criminology, Anthropology, and Sociology, Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio.
2
Department of Anthropology, SUNY Binghamton, Binghamton, New York.
3
Laboratory of Biomedical Anthropology and Neurosciences, SUNY Binghamton, Binghamton, New York.
4
Laboratory of Evolutionary Anthropology and Health, SUNY Binghamton, Binghamton, New York.
5
Department of Chronic Disease Epidemiology, Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, Connecticut.
6
Department of Physical Activity Sciences, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), Montréal, Québec, Canada.
7
Global Health Research Center, Duke Kunshan University, Kunshan, Jiangsu, China.
8
Laboratory of Biomedical Science, The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, New York.
9
Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine at Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York.
10
Island Malaria Group, Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
11
Ministry of Health, Port Vila, Republic of Vanuatu.
12
Department of Parasitology, Osaka City University Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture, Japan.
13
Institute of Tropical Medicine, Nagasaki University, Nagasaki, Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan.
14
Department of Anthropology, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To determine whether (1) maximal handgrip strength (HGS) is associated with inter-island level of economic development in Vanuatu, (2) how associations between island of residence and HGS are mediated by age, sex, body size/composition, and individual sociodeomographic variation, and (3) whether HGS is predictive of hypertension.

MATERIAL AND METHODS:

HGS was collected from 833 adult (aged 18 and older) men and women on five islands representing a continuum of economic development in Vanuatu. HGS was measured using a handheld dynamometer. Participants were administered in an extensive sociobehavioral questionnaire and were also assessed for height, weight, percent body fat, forearm skinfold thickness, forearm circumference, and blood pressure.

RESULTS:

HGS was significantly greater in men than in women regardless of island of residence. HGS was also significantly positively associated with inter-island level of economic development. Grip strength-to-weight ratio was not different across islands except in older individuals, where age-related decline occurred primarily on islands with greater economic development. HGS significantly declined with age in both men and women.

CONCLUSION:

HGS is positively associated with modernization in Vanuatu, but the relationship between HGS and modernization is largely due to an association of both variables with increased body size on more modernized islands. Further research on the role of individual variation in diet and physical activity are necessary to clarify the relationship between HGS and modernization.

KEYWORDS:

Pacific Islands; body composition; market integration; modernization; muscle area

PMID:
30259970
DOI:
10.1002/ajpa.23704

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