Absolute and Allometrically Scaled Lower-Limb Strength Differences Between Children With Overweight/Obesity and Typical Weight Children

Nicola Theis, Megan Le Warne, Stewart C. Morrison, Wendy Drechsler, Ryan Mahaffey

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Theis, N, Le Warne, M, Morrison, SC, Drechsler, W, and Mahaffey, R. Absolute and allometrically scaled lower-limb strength differences between children with overweight/obesity and typical weight children. J Strength Cond Res 33(12): 3276-3283, 2019-The purpose of this study was to compare isometric and isokinetic hip, knee, and ankle strength in children with overweight/obesity (OWB) and typical weight (TW) of age 6-12 years. Absolute torque and torque allometrically scaled to body mass and fat-free mass were derived to allow for comparison of strength irrespective of body size. Using a cross-sectional design, 26 OWB (body mass index [BMI] Z score: 2.28 ± 0.77, 54% females) children were matched in age and height with 26 TW (BMI Z score: -0.39 ± 0.96, 54% females). Subjects performed maximal isometric and isokinetic contractions in ankle dorsiflexion and plantarflexion, knee flexion and extension, hip flexion and extension, and isometric hip abduction and adduction. Between-group differences in absolute and normalized isometric and isokinetic strength were compared with 1-way analysis of variances. Statistical significance was set at p < 0.05. Children with OWB had significantly greater absolute torque in the knee flexors and extensors (15-21%) and greater isokinetic ankle dorsiflexion (8%) but lower isometric hip abduction (21%) compared with TW children. When strength was allometrically scaled to body mass, children with OWB were significantly weaker at the ankle (19-25%), hip (21-36%), and in the knee extensors (12-15%). When torque was allometrically scaled to fat-free mass, children in the OWB group had greater knee flexor and extensor strength (12-14%) but were weaker in isometric hip abduction (33%) and isokinetic hip flexion and extension (29-40%). The results demonstrated that deficits in strength, relative to body mass, at the ankle and hip may be greater than those of the knee. These strength deficits in the group with OWB highlight the need for targeted musculoskeletal strength interventions to incorporate all lower-limb muscle groups.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3276-3283
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of Strength and Conditioning Research
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


    • paediatric
    • muscle function
    • obesity


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