Postural control is a key aspect in preventing falls. The aim of this study was to determine if obesity affected balance in community-dwelling older adults and serve as an indicator of fall risk. The participants were randomly assigned to receive a comprehensive geriatric assessment followed by a longitudinal assessment of their fall history. The standing postural balance was measured for 98 participants with a Body Mass Index (BMI) ranging from 18 to 63 kg/m2, using a force plate and an inertial measurement unit affixed at the sternum. Participants’ fall history was recorded over 2 years and participants with at least one fall in the prior year were classified as fallers. The results suggest that body weight/BMI is an additional risk factor for falling in elderly persons and may be an important marker for fall risk. The linear variables of postural analysis suggest that the obese fallers have significantly higher sway area and sway ranges, along with higher root mean square and standard deviation of time series. Additionally, it was found that obese fallers have lower complexity of anterior-posterior center of pressure time series. Future studies should examine more closely the combined effect of aging and obesity on dynamic balance.
Frames CW, Soangra R, Lockhart TE, et al. Dynamical properties of postural control in obese community-dwelling older adults. Sensors. 2018;18:1692. doi:10.3390/s18061692
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