Measuring balance in children aged 4 to 12 years of age using the Balance Master: Normative values and associations.

Ms Jessica Kolic1, Ms Kaitlyn O’Brien1, Dr Kelly-Anne Bowles2, Dr Ross Iles1,4, Dr Cylie Williams1,3

1Department of Physiotherapy, School of Primary Health Care, Faculty of Nursing, Medicine and Health Sciences, Monash University Peninsula Campus, Frankston, Australia, 2Department of Paramedicine, School of Primary Health Care, Faculty of Nursing, Medicine and Health Sciences, Monash University Peninsula Campus, Frankston, Australia, 3Department of Allied Health, Peninsula Health, Frankston, Australia, 4Insurance, Work and Health Group, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Melbourne, Australia

Abstract:

Aims:To establish normative values for children aged four to twelve years for three common clinical balance tests on the Balance Master®. The secondary aim was to analyse the influence of age, gender, height and BMI on balance.

Methods: Ninety-one typically developing children with a mean age of 8 years ± 4 (46% female) were recruited in Victoria, Australia. Data collected, generated normative values for the Rhythmic Weight Shift (RWS), modified Clinical Test of Sensory Integration (m-CTSIB) and Limits of Stability (LOS) balance tests on the Balance Master®. Backward stepwise multiple regression analysis was performed to determine the association between balance variables against age, gender, height and BMI.

Results:Normative values for the RWS, m-CTSIB and LOS on the Balance Master® machine were established for each age year. Balance and postural control was shown to improve with age (p<0.05), with girls demonstrating mature balance strategies earlier (p<0.05). Increased BMI was associated with poor balance and postural control, particularly when vision was occluded (p<0.05).

Discussion:Adequate static and dynamic balance is a prerequisite for participation in many childhood activities essential for development. The Balance Master® is a portable and clinically feasible system that accurately and reliably measures balance in adults, however there exists limited normative data for children. The normative values established by this study may be used to support clinical paediatric assessment. Natural variation in balance ability exists as children continue to develop and clinicians should consider the individual impact of anthropometry in children when assessing balance.


Biography:

Recent graduate of the Bachelor of Physiotherapy (Honours) Advanced Research stream from Monash University. Currently working as a physiotherapist in the graduate program at Cabrini Health. Has a special interest in Indigenous health and neurological rehabilitation, and would love the opportunity to extend this pilot study being presented today to rural and remote communities.