(P100005)| Volume 25, SUPPLEMENT 2, S5-S6, November 2022

Does BMI influence foot reaction time and balance scores in elderly women?

      Introduction: Older adults who are obese have a higher chance of experiencing falls and according to the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, if you have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or higher you are considered obese. A longitudinal panel study stated that over 35 percent of older adults have had at least one fall in the past two years. BMI levels are significantly higher with elderly women compared to younger women and could possibly lead to future falls.
      Methods: 10 females (age 82.6 ± 7.23 years; height 161.80 ± 7.29 cm; mass 75.33 ± 21.0 kg; BMI 28.73 ± 7.53) from a local senior living community volunteered to participate in this study. No recent falls or lower extremity injuries were reported at the beginning of the research. All female participants were qualified for this study by being over the age of 65 and having signed informed consents. A Bertec computerized posturography plate (Bertec Corp. Columbus, OH) assessed every participant for Center of Pressure (CoP) measurements of eyes open stable surface (EOSS) and eyes closed stable surface (ECSS) without their shoes on. Foot reaction time was assessed using a Lafayette Instruments 3x4 switch mat connected to a digital multi-function timer (model 54035A, Lafayette, IN). With their shoes on, each participant responded to an auditory stimulus that started the timer by the researcher, responding by stepping quickly onto the switch mat to stop the timer with their foot. Two trials were performed with the left and right foot in that exact order. Foot reaction time was recorded for each foot and both scores for each foot were then averaged as the mean score for each foot time.
      Results: Pearson correlations (SPSS ver. 28) showed EOSS and ECSS balance scores had no significant relationship to the BMI or foot reaction time with the participants. There however was a negative relationship (r = - 0.72; p = 0.20) between the right foot reaction time vs BMI of the participants.
      Discussion: Our investigation did not show statistical significance. This may be due to low power based on a smaller sample size even though a strong negative correlation was discovered with the right foot reaction time and BMI. This study attempted to determine if there was a significant correlation between BMI, foot reaction time, and balance scores in elderly women. Compared to previous studies concluding that high BMI increases CoP scores, this study did not reflect past findings. Also, dominant foot reaction time was slower for those participants with higher BMI scores. A higher sample size could have increased the power of the study.
      Application to the field: Reduction in body fat percentage have been known to improve mobility, decreasing postural sway. In elderly women, these variables could impact the chances of reducing falls and potential injuries.
      All co-authors have no conflict of interest towards the relevance of this submission