Altered characteristics of balance control in obese older adults Academic Article uri icon


  • Summary Background Obesity is one of the most significant epidemiological trends of the last decades. Recently it was found that obese individuals show postural instability. Balance control mechanisms in obese older adults were less studied. Therefore we aimed to investigate the effect of obesity on balance control mechanisms in older adults. Methods Parameters from Stabilogram-Diffusion Analysis (SDA) and measures from summary statistics of foot centre-of-pressure (COP) displacements along the anterior-posterior (AP) and mediolateral (ML) directions in eyes open and eyes closed conditions were used to characterize postural control in 22 obese (30–<35 kg/m2), 26 overweight (25–<30 kg/m2), and 18 normal weight subjects (18.5–<25 kg/m2). Results Obese group subjects demonstrated significantly greater transition displacement, transition time interval, and short-term scaling exponent in the ML-direction compared with the normal weight group (eyes open and closed). In the AP-direction the obese group showed greater transition displacement (eyes open) and short-term scaling exponent (eyes open and closed). Average AP-COP and ML-COP ranges of COP sway were higher in the obese group compared with the normal weight group (eyes open and closed). Conclusions This work indicates an altered postural control process in obese older adults. A greater sway displacement before closed-loop feedback mechanisms are called into play was seen in the ML direction that may lead to a higher risk of instability and fall events.

publication date

  • January 1, 2016