Comparison of measures of physical performance among young children who are healthy weight, overweight, or obese

Pediatr Phys Ther. 2013 Fall;25(3):291-6. doi: 10.1097/PEP.0b013e31829846bd.


Purpose: To determine the differences in gait, balance, muscle strength, and physical activity in young children who are healthy weight (HW), overweight (OW), or obese.

Methods: Participants (n = 70; 5-9 years) were classified according to their body mass index as OW/obese (n = 29) or HW (n = 41). Data were collected on gait parameters, 1-leg stance test (OLST), handgrip strength, vertical jump (VJ) height, and physical activity. An independent t test, Mann-Whitney U test, analysis of covariance (ANCOVA), and regression analyses were carried out.

Results: Being OW/obese resulted in a significantly increased base of support while walking (P < .05), decreased OLST performance (P < .05), and decreased VJ height (P < .01) compared with peers of HW.

Conclusion: These findings suggest that in young children, being OW/obese may lead to an increased base of support while walking, decreased balance, and decreased leg explosive strength.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Body Weight / physiology*
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Gait / physiology
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength / physiology
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Overweight / physiopathology*
  • Postural Balance / physiology
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Walking / physiology