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Postural Balance, Sensation, Flexibility and Strength in Overweight and Healthy Weight Children: Pilot Cohort Study

      Objective

      To examine postural balance and strength in overweight (OW) and healthy weight (HW) children.

      Design

      Pilot cohort study.

      Setting

      Research lab.

      Participants

      27 children (8-17 years); 18 were OW (BMI>85th% as per CDC growth charts) and 9 were HW (BMI<85th%).

      Interventions

      N/A.

      Main Outcome Measure(s)

      Lower extremity strength using hand held dynamometry, sensation using monofilaments, proprioception, and flexibility was assessed. Following a familiarization period, the modified clinical test of sensory interaction in balance (m- CTSIB) was measured twice using the BioSway unit (Biodex). The CTSIB test required the children to stand on an instrumented platform and remain as still as possible for 20 seconds under 4 conditions (eyes open (EO), eyes closed (EC), eyes open while standing on foam (EO-F), eyes closed while standing of foam (EC-F)). The first trial was completed with feet positioned at hip width and the second trial was with feet together.

      Results

      For all CTSIB conditions mean postural sway was reduced for the HW compared to the OW group. In particular sway was significantly reduced for the HW when standing at hip width EO-F, and feet together EO and EO-F (p<0.05). Lower extremity strength, was significantly greater for the HW group (p<0.05). No differences were found for sensation, proprioception, or flexibility (p>0.05).

      Conclusions

      Balance in OW children is impaired compared to HW peers. Lower extremity strength may be a contributing factor, but sensation, proprioception, and flexibility are less likely to play a role.

      Key Words

      Postural balance, Pediatric obesity, Muscle strength dynamometry, Sensation, Proprioception

      Disclosure(s)

      None Disclosed.