Factors Influencing Balance in Healthy Community-dwelling Women Age 60 and Older

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Abstract

Purpose:

This study investigates the influence of the forward head posture, balance confidence, and physical activity levels on balance stability in healthy community living older women.

Methods:

This descriptive study included 203 women volunreers [age range: 60 to 95 years, mean ?? of 77.33 years (SD 7.59)]. Forward head position (FHP) was assessed via photographic analysis of a sagittal photo taken during the seventh task of the Berg Balance Scale (BBS). Each subject completed the Activity-specific Balance Confidence Scale (ABC) and the Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly (PASE). Balance stability was assessed using the Berg Balance Scale (BBS). Data analysis included descriptive indices, bivariate correlations, and regression analyses to determine the best predictor of balance stability.

Results:

Known risk factors for balance deficits (balance confidence and physical activity) were significantly positively correlated, and age was inversely related to these factors. Forward head posture was significantly negatively related to the known risk factors but positively correlated to age. Regression analyses identified balance confidence, physical activity, and age as significant predictors of balance stability accounting for 43% (p < .0001) of the total variance in balance stability. The forward head posture variable added a significant 6.1% (p < .0001) to the total variance in balance stability, suggesting that the forward head posture plays role in balance stability.

Conclusions:

The forward head posture-balance stability relationship found in this population of healthy community-dwelling older women, provides evidence to support inclusion of postural exercises for head position in balance training programs. Additionally, this research further supported the relationships between balance stability and balance confidence and physical activity. Further research is needed in the domain of intervention studies which incorporate these variables.

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