Purpose: The fear of falling is a major concern among the elderly. Sixty-five percent of individuals older than 60 years of age experience loss of balance often on a daily basis. Therefore, balance assessment in the elderly deserves special attention due to its importance in functional mobility and safety. This study aimed at assessing balance performance and comparing some anthropometric parameters among a Nigerian non-institutionalized elderly population.
Methods: Sixty one elderly subjects (31 males and 30 females) participated in this study. Their ages ranged between 62 and 84 years. Ability to maintain balance was assessed using Functional Reach Test (FRT) and Sharpened Romberg Test (SRT). Anthropometric data including age, weight, height, arm length, leg length, bi-acromial breadth, foot length and trunk length were also collected. Analysis was done using Pearson’s Product Moment Correlation Coefficient and Independent T-test, while level of significance was set as p<0.05.
Results: Age-related significant relationship was observed between balance performance and bi-acromial breadth among the elderly population. Gender and visual input also had a significant influence on balance performance. Other anthropometric variables (age, weight, height, arm length, leg length, foot length and trunk length) showed no significant relationship with balance performance among this elderly sample.
Conclusion: Only specific anthropometric variables may affect balance performances among the healthy elderly. The study further highlights the need for routine assessment of both static and dynamic balance to detect and appropriately manage aging-related diseases which could affect balance in the elderly.