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Dev Med Child Neurol. 2005 Jul;47(7):449-54.

Balance control: sex and age differences in 9- to 16-year-olds.

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Laboratory for Biomechanics and Motor Control, Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet and University College of Physical Education and Sports, Box 5626, SE-114 86 Stockholm, Sweden.


This study investigated sex and age differences in standing balance. Movement of the centre of pressure (COP) was calculated from ground reaction force data collected from a force platform during bipedal stance with eyes open and eyes closed. Three groups of 60 children, with 30 girls and 30 boys in each, were assessed. Mean ages of each group were as follows: 9 years 11 months (standard deviation [SD] 3mo); 12 years 11 months (SD 2mo); and 15 years 11 months (SD 3mo) respectively. Summary sway parameters and frequency domain variables were calculated in the anteroposterior and mediolateral directions. Boys exhibited greater COP movement than girls at 9 to 10 years of age. Age-related 'improvements' in sway occurred in boys, thus some aspects of postural control are still developing after 9 to 10 years of age. As very little age-related difference was seen in girls, boys may lag behind somewhat in terms of developing postural control. Thus there is a need to study the sexes separately when investigating balance in children.

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