L.N. Bramble,J.D. Kelly, C. Kitambala, C.J. Wright

Whitworth University, Spokane, WA

Past research has examined the relationship between postural stability and body mass index with foci on athletic or obese populations. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between BF% and both dynamic and static postural stability in college-aged individuals. METHODS: 49 healthy individuals (nm= 14, nf= 35, age = 20.7 ± 1.4 y, height = 1.69 ± 0.08 m, weight = 70.75 ± 12.51 kg) with no history of vestibular deficits or lower extremity injury within the previous 6 weeks participated in this study. In a single session, participants completed a body fat assessment via air displacement plethysmography. Participants then completed 4 practice trials of a Y-balance test in 3 directions (anterior [A], posterolateral [PL], posteromedial [PM]), followed by 3 recorded trials in each direction. After a 5 min rest period, participants completed 3 static, 20 second single limb stance balance trials on a force plate. All tests were completed with the dominant leg. For static balance, the dependent variables were Center of Pressure - Velocity (COPV; cm/s) and Center of Pressure 95% Area Ellipse (COPA-95; cm2). Y-balance reach distance (cm) was normalized to leg length, then for all balance tests, the average of 3 trials was used for analysis. The relationship between BF% and each postural stability variable was analyzed using separate Pearson correlations. RESULTS: There was no significant relationship between BF% and COPV (r = -0.178, p= 0.227), COPA-95 (r = 0.273, p= 0.063), Y-balance test in the A direction (r = -0.230, p = 0.115), or Y-balance test in the PL direction (r = -0.217, p = 0.063). There was a significant negative correlation between BF% and Y-balance test in the PM direction (r = -0.307, p = 0.034). Furthermore, as BF% increased, participants decreased postural stability in the PM direction for dynamic balance testing. CONCLUSION: There was a significant negative relationship between postural stability and BF% in the PM direction, therefore, future research on body composition and balance should be focused here. Additionally, since past research has reported that the posteromedial direction is the most indicative of postural stability deficits, this correlation may have important clinical implications for injury prevention in obese or overweight populations.

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