Anorexia Nervosa

Grip Strength Data for Individuals with Severe Anorexia Nervosa

Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Practice
By Delaney Wesselink, PT, DPT, CEDS Jamie Manwaring, PhD Kamila Cass, PhD, CEDS Cheryl Lundberg, PsyD, CEDS Philip S. Mehler, MD, FACP, FAED, CEDS

Research Asset


Objective: This retrospective study compiled grip strength data of patients with severe anorexia nervosa to assess associations among grip strength, anorexia nervosa severity, depression, and physiological comorbidities.

Design: 475 patients with severe anorexia nervosa admitted to an inpatient hospital and completed a grip strength assessment at admission and discharge. Depression was diagnosed via clinical interview. Independent sample t-tests and Mann-Whitney U tests compared difference in grip strength and anthropometric measures between anorexia nervosa subtypes. Linear and logistic regressions assessed associations among grip strength, depression, and physiological measures.

Results: The cohort was 91.8% female (M age: 31.8 ± 11.7 years). At admission, patients had an average body mass index of 13.8 ± 2.4 kg/m2 with 97.7% exhibiting impaired right-hand grip strength for their sex and age. Weaker right grip strength was associated with admission lower body mass index, worsening bone mineral density z-scores, and lower serum prealbumin (all p’s<.05) for both sexes. Patients with binge-purge anorexia nervosa had significantly stronger right grip strength (M:19.0 ± 7.8 kg) compared to patients with restricting anorexia nervosa (M:16.9 ± 7.9 kg), p=0.003.

Conclusion: Severe malnutrition from anorexia nervosa was associated with profound deficits in grip strength, medical comorbidities and disease severity, but was not associated with depression.

Written by

Delaney Wesselink, PT, DPT, CEDS

Originally from Boise, Idaho, Delaney received her BS in Exercise Science at the University of Montana in Missoula, MT. Expanding upon her love for the mountains, she pursued her Doctorate in Physical…
Written by

Jamie Manwaring, PhD

Dr. Jamie Manwaring began clinical research in eating and weight disorders after graduating with her degree in psychology from UCLA. This clinical research continued in graduate school at Washington…
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Kamila Cass, PhD, CEDS

Dr. Kamila Cass is a Clinical Psychologist at the ACUTE Center for Eating Disorders at Denver Health, providing psychodiagnostic assessment, individual and group psychotherapy, and crisis intervention…
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Cheryl Lundberg, PsyD, CEDS

Dr. Cheryl Kornfeld works as a licensed clinical psychologist at the ACUTE Center for Eating Disorders at Denver Health, the country’s center of excellence for those with the most extreme forms of…
Written by

Philip S. Mehler, MD, FACP, FAED, CEDS

Dr. Philip S. Mehler began his career at Denver Health more than 35 years ago and was formerly its Chief of Internal Medicine and then Denver Health’s Chief Medical Officer (CMO) until he was promoted…

ACUTE Earns Prestigious Center of Excellence Designation from Anthem
In 2018, the ACUTE Center for Eating Disorders & Severe Malnutrition at Denver Health was honored by Anthem Health as a Center of Excellence for Medical Treatment of Severe and Extreme Eating Disorders. ACUTE is the first medical unit ever to achieve this designation in the field of eating disorders. It comes after a rigorous review process.

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