Hand grip is a leading measure of muscle strength and general health, yet its association with body shape is not well characterized. Here, we examine correlations between grip strength, a body shape index (ABSI), and body mass index (BMI) in the 2011–2014 United States National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey cohorts. Grip strength was found to correlate negatively with ABSI (though positively with BMI), suggesting that those with a more central body profile tend to be weaker than others with the same weight. Individuals with low grip strength, as well as those with high ABSI, were more likely to die during follow up, whereas there was no association of BMI with mortality hazard. Transforming the grip strength, ABSI, and BMI by taking their logarithm prior to standardization did not meaningfully change the associations seen. These findings suggest that combining anthropometrics (ABSI, BMI) with grip strength may better identify individual mortality hazard in research studies and clinical practice.