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Silvia G.R. Neri, Juscelia Cristina Pereira, Ana Cristina de David, and Ricardo M. Lima

The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of body fat distribution on postural balance and lower-limb muscle quality in women aged 60 years and over. Two hundred and twenty-two volunteers took part in this cross-sectional analysis. Participants underwent body fat distribution assessment using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry and were classified as nonobese, gynoid obese, or android obese. Postural balance was assessed during quiet standing, with and without vision restriction, using a force platform. Specific torque was defined as the ratio of knee extensors peak torque (evaluated by an isokinetic dynamometer) to the lean mass of the same limb (evaluated by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry). Compared with nonobese participants, both obese groups exhibited higher range of postural sway along the anteroposterior and mediolateral axes (P < .05). However, there were no differences between participants with gynoid and android obesity. The android obese group exhibited greater speed of postural sway in the condition without vision restriction than both nonobese (P = .040) and gynoid obese (P = .004) groups. Regarding muscle quality, only participants with gynoid obesity (P = .004) presented lower specific torque than their nonobese peers. These results may be clinically useful when designing falls prevention exercises targeting the obese population.

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Silvia Gonçalves Ricci Neri, André Bonadias Gadelha, Ana Luiza Matias Correia, Juscélia Cristina Pereira, Ana Cristina de David, and Ricardo M. Lima

Increased plantar pressure has been found to be related with greater risk of falling. Although there is evidence suggesting that obesity is linked to foot disorders, the association between obesity and plantar pressure of older adults has been poorly investigated. The purpose of this study was to examine the association between obesity and plantar pressure distribution and to explore its relationship with body fat distribution. Two hundred and eleven older women took part in this cross-sectional study. Body mass index was taken for obesity classification. Whole body, android, and gynoid fat percentage was assessed using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. Peak plantar pressure was evaluated during gait using an Emed AT-4 pressure platform. Obese volunteers generated greater peak pressure at midfoot (187.26 kPa) compared to both normal weight (128.52 kPa, p < .001) and overweight (165.74 kPa, p < .001). Peak plantar pressure at midfoot was also greater in overweight compared to normal weight (p < .001). At forefoot, peak pressure was higher in the obese (498.15 kPa) compared to normal weight volunteers (420.41 kPa, p = .007). Additionally, whole body, android, and gynoid fat percentage were significantly associated with peak pressure at midfoot and forefoot. Therefore, clinicians dealing with falls should consider the effect of increased body weight on plantar pressure.