We used a prevalence-based approach to estimate the economic costs associated with low muscle strength, as assessed using handgrip strength, in Canadian adults. We estimated the annual economic burden of low muscle strength at $3.0 billion, representing 2.2% of the 2021 Canadian burden of illness costs. The two most expensive chronic diseases attributable to low muscle strength were cardiovascular disease ($899 million) and type 2 diabetes ($880 million). A 10% decrease in the prevalence of low handgrip strength would save approximately $546 million per year, equivalent to an 18.1% cost reduction. Strategies to increase population-level muscle strength are needed to reduce healthcare costs and improve health.
Keywords: economic cost; handgrip strength; healthcare cost; muscular strength; physical fitness; public health.
Conflict of interest statement
The content and views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Government of Canada.
Senior Scientist, CHEO Research Institute