The ability to walk efficiently and safely is vital for older people to avoid falls. The prevalence of abnormal gait has been reported to be 35% in adults aged >70 years. Furthermore, obesity is a critical issue in numerous countries. In Iran, as a fast–developing country confronting growing urban living and industrialization, the prevalence of obesity has dramatically raised more than the expected frequency in recent years. Obesity and overweight have numerous effects on the elderly’s movement patterns. Besides, gait variability measures have been described as more efficient predictors of falls and declined mobility. Accordingly, the present study aimed to investigate gait differences in the normal–weight and overweight elderly.
The current study explored the effect of obesity on the kinematics factors of gait patterns in the elderly. For this reason, 10 elderly males age 65–85 years were selected based on BMI from 27 volunteers. Next, the study participants were classified into two normal–weight and overweight groups. All of the study samples were healthy and had no physical conditions. The investigated elderly’s gait was normal, and they reported no falling history. The SEKA instrument was used for evaluating the study subjects’ weight and height. Moreover, a 3D motion analysis was applied for measuring gait parameters, such as walking speed, stride length, stride width, single support phase duration, double support, and swing phase duration. T–test was implemented for data analysis in SPSS 19. The significance level was set at p<0.05.
Based on the present study findings, there was no significant difference in the parameters of gait, such as stride length (p=0.107), stride width (p=0.753), swing phase (p=0.599), double support (p=0.248), single support (p=0.76) phases duration, and walking speed (p=0.923) between the normal–weight and overweight elderly groups.
Generally, in the past studies, obesity demonstrated significant differences in gait parameters in the elderly. However, in the present study, there was no significant difference in gait between the studied normal–weight and overweight elderly groups. Such a result might be explained by the close BMI scores of the two study groups. Additionally, some essential variables might have influenced the elderly’s gait, such as strength, balance, and fall history; therefore, in future studies investigating the elderly’s gait, these variables must be considered.
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