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Context: The Balance Error Scoring System (BESS), originally designed to diagnose and assess athletes with concussion syndrome, is now widely used to evaluate postural stability. To interpret balance status, a normative database can be a reliable source. However, different anthropometric characteristics and sociocultural backgrounds across populations hinder the application of previously developed databases in different populations. Objective: The present study was designed to develop a normative data set for the general population of healthy Iranian adults according to their age groups and to study the correlation between BESS scores and the participants’ sex, height, weight, and body mass index. Design: A cross-sectional study. Participants: A total of 1051 community-dwelling adults aged 20–69 years not suffering from balance disorders, dizziness, or other neurological or musculoskeletal diseases were recruited and stratified into 5 different age groups by decade. Main Outcome Measures: The BESS tests were composed of single-leg, double-leg, and tandem stances, each on a rigid surface and a foam pad. The individuals maintained each position for 20 seconds with eyes closed. The assessor recorded the total number of errors as the individuals’ BESS score (range: 0–60). Results: Significant but weak correlations were found between BESS score and height (r = −.13, P < .001) and between BESS score and body mass index (r = .11, P < .001), and the difference between sexes in BESS score was statistically significant in the 50- to 59-year-old (P = .021) and 60- to 69-year-old (P < .001) groups. The BESS scores were significantly different between all age groups (P < .05), except between the 20- to 29-year-old and 30- to 39-year-old groups (P = 1.000) and between the 40- to 49-year-old and 50- to 59-year-old groups (P = .086). Conclusions: This study provided a normative database for different age groups of asymptomatic Iranian adults. The BESS score had weak correlations with height and body mass index and no correlation with weight, and significant differences were found between sexes in 50- to 69-year-old individuals. This study emphasizes the importance of obtaining specific normative data for different populations.

Shamshiri and Heidari are with the Student Research Committee, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran. Rezaei and Ghanbari are with the Physical Therapy Department, School of Rehabilitation Sciences, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran. Rezaei, Sinaei, and Ghanbari are with the Rehabilitation Sciences Research Center, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.

Rezaei (irezaei@sums.ac.ir) is corresponding author.
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