Publication Date

Spring 4-23-2014


School of Health Sciences


Kinesiology: Exercise Science


obesity, ambulation, effects


Other Rehabilitation and Therapy | Public Health


The effects of obesity on the body are complex and numerous especially when combining the effects on an already multi-faceted and multi-systems action such as human ambulation. This study summarizes a wide range of research performed, which investigated the effects of obesity on human ambulation. The effects are broken down into categories including osteoarthritis, replacement surgery, center of mass, stepping cycle, muscular activation, and specifics of the hip, knee and ankle joints as well as foot changes. The overwhelming majority of studies have found obesity to negatively impact ambulation by shifting center of mass (COM), increasing metabolic cost, decreasing cadence speed, widening step width, increasing joint torque and load, changing joint biomechanics, increasing chance of joint replacement surgery, correlating with low back pain (LBP), and correlating with onset of osteoarthritis. Research on the effects of obesity on gait is a new field in which there were many previous unknowns; however, this review is a compilation of what recent studies have now revealed.