BACKGROUND: Skeletal muscle strength and engagement in muscle-strengthening activities are each inversely associated with all-cause mortality; however, less is known on their relationship with cancer-specific mortality.
METHODS: Data from the 1999-2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey were used assessing 2773 individuals aged 50 years or older. Individuals being dichotomized at the 75th percentile for knee extensor strength, and engagement in muscle-strengthening activities was acquired through self-report with ≥2 sessions per week were classified as meeting guidelines.
RESULTS: With respect to cancer-specific mortality, individuals in the upper quartile for muscle strength were at a 50% reduced risk (hazard ratio = 0.50; 95% confidence interval, 0.29-0.85; P = .01) and those meeting muscle-strengthening activities were at a nonsignificant 8% reduced risk (hazard ratio = 0.92; 95% confidence interval, 0.45-1.86, P = .81) of cancer-specific mortality after adjusting for covariates.
CONCLUSIONS: Clinicians should routinely assess lower extremity strength and promote engagement in muscle-strengthening activities aimed at increasing muscle strength.