Body segment mass, radius and radius of gyration proportions of children

J Biomech. 1986;19(5):359-68. doi: 10.1016/0021-9290(86)90012-6.


The segment inertial parameters of children are fundamental to the analysis and simulation of their movements. Generally it has been recognized that adult parameters cannot be extrapolated and most of the anthropometric data on children are of little or no use for determining inertias. Consequently, there have been few studies of children's kinetics. In response to this problem a longitudinal investigation, the Laurentian Study of Biomechanical Development, was launched and in this paper the effects of growth on selected segmental size and inertial parameters are reported for boys between the ages of 4 and 15 yr. The twelve subjects, representing heterogeneous body types were followed over 3 yr for a total of 36 observations. Elliptical zones 2 cm wide were used to model the body and segment inertias calculated using segment densities from the literature. These inertias were the mass, moment of inertia and mass centroid location for a fourteen segment planar representation of the body. The general accuracy mean error based on body mass was 0.203% which is consistent with reports from similar studies and techniques. Plots of segment mass proportions with respect to age showed a decrease in the head proportion balanced by increases in the thigh, shank, foot and upper arm proportions in particular. The trends for each segment were consistent with the trends for linear measures reported in the anthropometry literature. Radius proportions to the mass centroid and radius of gyration proportions were also plotted and showed smaller but consistent changes with respect to age. Linear regressions were then fitted to the distributions and standard errors calculated. The magnitude and slope of the regressions were for the most part consistent with a reported cross-sectional study of Japanese children. Where data were available, predicted parameters were compared with the reported parameters for a 12 yr old analyzed using a different mathematical model. Comparisons were also made between the predicted parameters at 15 yr and the reported parameters for healthy young adults who had been scanned using a gamma-radiation technique. For most parameters there was either good agreement or differences could be explained logically. The traditionally used parameters from older cadavers were quite inconsistent with the above. The variances of the 36 observations about the regression lines as indicated by the standard errors were small. As an illustration of the effect of these variances, the trunk parameters for a 10 yr old performing a standing jump for distance were decreased by 1 S.E. and this matched by increases for the thigh, shank and head.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Anthropometry
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Body Constitution*
  • Child
  • Child Development
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Movement*