The biomechanics of restricted movement in adult obesity

Wearing, S.C. and Urry, S.R. and Smeathers, J.E. (2001) The biomechanics of restricted movement in adult obesity. Obesity Reviews, 7 (1). pp. 13-24. ISSN 1467-7881 (

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In spite of significant advances in the knowledge and understanding of the multi-factorial nature of obesity, many questions regarding the specific consequences of the disease remain unanswered. In particular, there is a relative dearth of information pertaining to the functional limitations imposed by overweight and obesity. The limited number of studies to date have mainly focused on the effect of obesity on the temporospatial characteristics of walking, plantar foot pressures, muscular strength and, to a lesser extent, postural balance. Collectively, these studies have implied that the functional limitations imposed by the additional loading of the locomotor system in obesity result in aberrant mechanics and the potential for musculoskeletal injury. Despite the greater prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders in the obese, there has been surprisingly little empirical investigation pertaining to the biomechanics of activities of daily living or into the mechanical and neuromuscular factors that may predispose the obese to injury. A better appreciation of the implications of increased levels of body adiposity on the movement capabilities of the obese would afford a greater opportunity to provide meaningful support in preventing, treating and managing the condition and its sequelae. Moreover, there is an urgent need to establish the physical consequences of continued repetitive loading of major structures of the body, particularly of the lower limbs in the obese, during the diverse range of activities of daily living.