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The Effects of Body Mass Index on Balance, Mobility, and Functional Capacity in Older Adults

Sertel, Meral PT, PhD; Tarsuslu Şimşek, Tülay PT, PhD; Tütün Yümin, Eylem PT, PhD

Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation: April/June 2017 - Volume 33 - Issue 2 - p 104–112
doi: 10.1097/TGR.0000000000000144
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Objective: The aim of this study was to study the effects of body mass index (BMI) on balance, mobility, and physical capacity in the older adults.

Methods: A total of 149 elderly individuals aged 65 to 85 years were recruited into the study. They were divided into 3 groups, including normal weight (n = 35), overweight (n = 67), and obese (n = 47), by their BMI values. Sociodemographic characteristics of the subjects were recorded, and their BMI values (body weight/height2 [kg/m2]) were calculated using height and body weight values. Balance was assessed by the Berg Balance Scale (BBS) and the tandem test, mobility by the Rivermead Mobility Index (RMI), and physical capacity by the Timed Up and Go (TUG) test.

Results: The mean age of the subjects was 69.64 ± 6.60 years. Statistical analysis revealed that there is no statistically significant difference between the BBS, RMI, and TUG values of normal, obese, and overweight elderly subjects (P > .05). A statistically significant difference was found in tandem test values of the right and left feet (P < .05). A correlation was identified between the BMI and balance (BBS) values for the subjects with a high mean age (P < .05), whereas there was no such correlation for the subjects with a lower mean age (P > .05).

Conclusion: Although increased weight affects balance and mobility in the older adults, it is an important factor that affects balance and physical mobility in advanced age.

Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation, Faculty of Health Sciences, Kırıkkale University, Kırıkkale, Turkey (Dr Sertel); School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation, Dokuz Eylül University, I·zmir, Turkey (Dr Tarsuslu Şimşek); and School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation, Abant I·zzet Baysal University, Bolu, Turkey (Dr Tütün Yümin).

Correspondence: Meral Sertel, PT, PhD, Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation, Faculty of Health Sciences, Kırıkkale University, Kırıkkale, Turkey (fzt_meralaksehir@hotmail.com).

The authors declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

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