The Effect of Body Mass Index On Children's Gait Patterns While Walking On Flat and Sloped Surfaces

Open Access
Dau, Bryan John
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Cynthia Bartok, Thesis Supervisor
  • Cynthia J Bartok, Thesis Supervisor
  • Stephen Jacob Piazza, Honors Advisor
  • Jonathan Robert Olson, Faculty Reader
  • children body size
  • body mass index
  • gait patterns
  • locomotion
Childhood obesity has been linked to numerous health problems that are typically associated with adult obesity. Previous studies have suggested that obesity is associated with gait pattern abnormalities, gait instability, the development of lower extremity joint injuries and musculoskeletal diseases, and long-term orthopedic complications. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relation between gait patterns and body size in children ages 3-5 years while walking on flat, inclined, and declined surfaces. More specifically, this study examined the association between cadence, walking velocity, and the variability in step width and step length between each walking trial with age and sex specific BMI percentiles. Data were analyzed using SPSS software. Bivariate correlations were used to measure the relation between BMI-for-age and sex percentiles and the variables of cadence, walking velocity, step width, and step length. The significance level was set at p<0.05. BMI-for-age-and sex percentiles were not associated with cadence, walking velocity, and gait variability (step length, step width) during all three conditions of walking. This pilot study does not suggest that children’s body mass index is related to altered gait patterns while walking on flat and sloped surfaces in children ages 3-5 years. Future studies with larger samples and more direct measures of body composition would provide a more comprehensive view of the nature of early growth and body composition and the effects on locomotion.