Malnutrition is concerning in children because it effects proper growth and development. Handgrip Strength (HGS) has been identified as a diagnostic indicator for identifying pediatric malnutrition but normal reference ranges have not yet been established; therefore, HGS can be used to identify malnutrition but not quantify the degree of malnutrition: mild, moderate, or severe. The aim of this study was to determine if HGS differed between hospitalized and non-hospitalized children and to describe the association between HGS and several parameters including height, weight, body mass index (BMI), and mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC). One hundred nine hospitalized and 110 non-hospitalized pediatric patients ages 6-14 years participated in this cross sectional, nonequivalent control group design study. Nutrition status was evaluated using BMI z scores and MUAC z scores, and HGS was evaluated within 48 hours of hospital admission or at a well-child appointment. According to BMI z scores, 24.8% of hospitalized and 18.3% of non-hospitalized participants were malnourished. Mean HGS of hospitalized participants was not significantly different from non-hospitalized participants (p=.2053). HGS was found to be associated with age, height, dominant hand, and MUAC z scores in all participants. The difference in HGS measurements was not statistically significant between hospitalized and non-hospitalized children using a one-time HGS measurement. Further research examining HGS measurements over time as well as comparing HGS measurements to the degree of malnutrition deficit in pediatrics is needed.



College and Department

Life Sciences; Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Science



Date Submitted


Document Type





malnutrition, handgrip strength, children, pediatrics, BMI z score, MUAC z score

Included in

Nutrition Commons