CLINICAL BOTTOM LINE
“How could I apply this information?”
The authors of this study address an area of need in physical therapy assessment for school-aged children. Balance and postural control are integral for a variety of activities and participation in school and the community. However, there are no normative values for some of the frequently used balance scales for children aged 6 to 12 years. The impact of characteristics known to affect balance, such as age, gender, height, and weight, is also not well-understood. The functional reach (FR) and lateral reach (LR) tests were administered to 350 school children in India who were developing typically, stratified by age from 6 to 12 years. Normal mean values of FR and LR were reported. Only the correlations among height, base of support, FR, and LR were statistically significant.
The clinical bottom line is that this study provides normal mean values of FR and LR for children in India. The mean values for the FR test were different from those of a similar age group in the United States. Because height and not age was determined to be the greatest contributing factor to variations in FR and LR values, the age-related normative values may not be reliable.
“What should I be mindful about in applying this information?”
Physical therapists who choose to use the normal values presented in this study for children aged 6 to 12 years should be mindful that there are anthropometric differences between Indian and Western children. This is particularly important because height was a significant determinant of the FR and LR values. Caution should also be exercised in adopting the results of the FR test observed in this study, which are different from those reported in the literature on children from the United States. The findings do not provide information that can be used to identify or predict balance problems in children aged 6 to 12 years in the United States.