Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Low Muscle Tone in Youth Linked to Early Death

Swedish experts who tracked more than a million teenage boys for 24 years found those with low muscle strength - weaker leg and arm muscles and a limp grip - were at increased risk of early death. _BBC
Part of the risk for early death is likely related to a more sedentary lifestyle and less regular exercise. But there are a number of unanswered questions as to other possible connections between the weak muscles and the early deaths.
The teenagers, who were all conscripts to the Swedish military, were asked to grip and to do some leg curls and arm push ups against resistance to measure muscle strength.

...Over the course of the study, 26,145 (2.3%) of the men died. The leading single cause of death was accidental injury, followed by suicide, cancer, heart disease and stroke.

A third of the deaths were due to other causes and the researchers grouped these together for their calculations.

The teenagers who scored above average on muscular strength at the start of the study had a 20-35% lower risk of early death from any cause and also from cardiovascular diseases.

They also had a 20-30% lower risk of early death from suicide and were up to 65% less likely to have any psychiatric diagnosis, such as schizophrenia or depression.

In comparison, the 16- to 19-year-olds with the lowest level of muscular strength had the highest risk of dying before they reached their mid-50s. _BBC
It is not clear how many of these early deaths would be prevented by placing these conscripts on a regular exercise and muscle strengthening program. And in the age of electro-toning devices and injectable muscle growth factors -- including myostatin inhibitors -- we have multiple ways of testing the connection.

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