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.