Weak Muscular Strength Can Contribute to Premature Deaths in Adolescence

by Anne Trueman on  March 23, 2013 at 11:29 AM Health In Focus   - G J E 4
According to a study published in British Medical Journal, scientists said that weak muscular strength in adolescence is related with enhanced risk of untimely death from various illnesses.
Weak Muscular Strength Can Contribute to Premature Deaths in Adolescence
Weak Muscular Strength Can Contribute to Premature Deaths in Adolescence

The scientists advised the younger generation to involve in regular physical exercises in order to strengthen their weak muscles.   

The known causes of premature deaths are high blood pressure and high body index (BMI). The involvement of muscular strength in adolescence or childhood in predicting mortality is still not well established.  

Professor Finn Rasmussen at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, conducted a research studied around one million Swedish male adolescent in the age group of 16 to 19 years for 24 years.

The volunteers had to go through three authentic muscular strength tests namely the handgrip tests, elbow flexion tests and knee extension strength tests. Their blood pressure and BMI were also recorded. Deaths occurring before the age of 55 years are termed as premature deaths.

The researchers noted that around 26,145 volunteers died during the study follow-up. Suicide was a common cause of premature death (22.3 percent) in comparison to deaths occurring due to cancer (14.9 percent) and cardiovascular ailments (7.8 percent).

Better muscular strength was seen to be associated with 20 to 35 percent decrease in risk of premature death.

The scientists observed that strong adolescents had 20 to 30 percent less chances of premature deaths occurring from suicide and 65 percent less probability of having any psychiatric ailment such as mood disorder and schizophrenia. 

The study highlighted the importance of strong muscles in enhancing mental strength. Individuals with weak muscular strength were more vulnerable to mental weaknesses.

According to Finn Rasmussen and colleagues, weak muscular strength was associated with high all-cause mortality and high mortality in cardiovascular ailments before the age of 55 years.  

The researchers said, "People at increased risk of long term mortality, because of lower muscular strength, should be encouraged to engage in exercise programmes and other forms of physical activity."

They added that weak muscular strength in young adults is a rising risk factor for deaths such as suicidal deaths and deaths occurring from cardiovascular diseases.

They advocated, "The effect sizes of these associations are similar to classic risk factors such as body mass index and blood pressure."

The researchers concluded that good muscular strength was related with better fitness of cardio respiratory system. Weak muscular strength should be regarded as an emergency risk factor for premature deaths occurring in adulthood.


Muscular strength in male adolescents and premature death: cohort study of one million participants; Francisco et al; BMJ.

Source: Medindia

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