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Abstract

International Journal of Exercise Science 5(4) : 301-320, 2012. The objective of this review was to analyze the current literature related to the effects of obesity on balance. These effects were observed during conditions of static balance, perturbed balance and dynamic balance during gait. The literature review included studies focused on the biomechanical effects of obesity, the relationship between weight loss and balance, and the relative efficacy of weight loss as a balance intervention. The older adult population, which faces increased risk of falls and related injuries, was highlighted where targeted research was available. The existing literature provides evidence for a strong link between obesity and balance impairments. This meta-analysis supports the efficacy of weight loss as an intervention to improve balance in the obese. Additional investigations are needed to confirm the reliability of relationships noted in this review paper, and to explore the potential of weight loss in simple and combined interventions. Future research should also determine whether efficacy differs among populations.