Flatfoot and obesity in school-age children: a cross-sectional study

Clin Obes. 2016 Feb;6(1):42-50. doi: 10.1111/cob.12125. Epub 2015 Dec 7.


Childhood obesity exerts abnormally high stresses on developing foot structures which can lead to structural deformity of the foot. Screening for foot problems in children with overweight helps detect interior risks restricting normal lifestyle in these individuals. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of excess weight on the structure and function of the developing foot in students aged 7-14 years. A total of 667 participants were recruited for this cross-sectional study via a multi-level cluster sampling method (randomization was used within each cluster). All subjects (340 boys and 327 girls) attended primary and secondary schools in Isfahan City, Iran. The children's feet were evaluated using clinical assessments and footprint-based measures whilst fully weight bearing. Significant differences were observed in the frequency of flatfoot between normal weight, overweight and obese groups (P < 0.001); participants who were more overweight had flatter feet. Children with higher weight also had a more pronated heel, less dorsiflexion range and higher reported pain within physical activity. This study indicated that childhood obesity is associated with structural foot and ankle deformities and activity-related foot pain.

Keywords: Adolescents; children; flatfoot; obesity.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Flatfoot / epidemiology*
  • Flatfoot / physiopathology
  • Foot / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Iran
  • Male
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Pronation
  • Risk Factors
  • Schools / statistics & numerical data