There are two very different interpretations of our dwindling grip strength.
BY TOM VANDERBILT
When she was a practicing occupational therapist, Elizabeth Fain started noticing something odd in her clinic: Her patients were weak. More specifically, their grip strengths, recorded via a hand-held dynamometer, were “not anywhere close to the norms” that had been established back in the 1980s.
Fain knew that physical activity levels and hand-use patterns had changed a lot since then. Jobs had become increasingly automated, the professional and service sectors had grown, all sorts of measures of physical activity (like the likelihood that a child walks to school1) had declined, and the personal computer age had dawned. But to see the numbers decline so steeply and quickly was still a surprise, and not just to her.