BACKGROUND: The effects of body position on craniovertebral angle (CVA) values in young adults with varying degrees of head posture is unclear due to a paucity of studies with this focus. Research is needed to assist health and fitness professionals in their decision making when assessing the CVA in this population. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of standing versus sitting body position on the CVA in young adults without pathology; and to investigate whether mean differences between positional CVA measures in subjects with severe forward head posture (FHP) are distinct from age-matched controls with normal head posture. METHODS: Ninety-eight young adults (68 women, 30 men; 20.12±2.05 y) without pathology (OVERALL; n=98) volunteered for the study; those with a CVA > 53° were also included in a normal posture group (NORM; n=14); those with a CVA < 45° were also included in a severe FHP group (SEV; n=15). CVA assessments were conducted in standing and sitting conditions. RESULTS: Mean difference comparison of change in mean CVA between conditions revealed significantly (p< 0.05) higher CVA values in the standing condition (OVERALL: 50.0±5.2°; NORM: 56.6±2.7°; SEV: 41.2±3.2°) compared to the sitting condition (OVERALL: 47.8±5.7°; NORM: 55.9±2.8°; SEV: 39.0±4.0°). Mean difference comparison of between-group change in mean CVA between conditions revealed greater CVA change (p< 0.05) in the SEV group (2.2±2.1°) versus the NORM group (0.8±1.2°). CONCLUSIONS: Sitting CVA values may be lower (indicating greater FHP) than standing CVA values in young adults without pathology. Differences between standing and sitting CVA measures may be greater in young adults with severe FHP compared to peers with normal head posture.

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