Postural stability of 5-year-old girls and boys with different body heights

Autoři: Magdalena Plandowska aff001;  Małgorzata Lichota aff001;  Krystyna Górniak aff001
Působiště autorů: Faculty of Physical Education and Health, Jozef Pilsudski University of Physical Education, Warsaw, Poland aff001
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(12)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0227119



Postural stability is one of the determinants of proper body posture and a condition for developing motor abilities in every human being. The measurement of the centre of pressure (COP) location and displacement is the most common technique of postural stability assessment.


The aim of this study was to assess differences in postural stability depending on sex of 5-year-old children with different body heights.


A study included 435 healthy children (200 girls and 235 boys) born in 2010 whose parents gave a written consent to their participation in the project. Postural stability was assessed with the use of the dynamographic platform (Zebris FDM 1.8). The assessment of postural stability was based on COP shift parameters (sway path length of COP and average velocity of COP) and COP surface area parameters (area of the ellipse, length of ellipse in the anterior-posterior direction and length of the ellipse in the medial-lateral direction). Body height was measured with Holtein anthropometer and the obtained values were compared with percentile ranks determined by the WHO.


The analysis of the parameters describing postural stability in the examined children revealed dimorphism. For the COP shift parameters and COP surface area parameters, the level of statistical significance was recorded for girls and boys. Girls achieved lower results of these parameters than boys regardless of their body height. In the groups of normal- and tall-statured children, differences between the genders were statistically significant.


The present study characterised sex differences in postural stability of 5-year-old children. Sex-related differences were found during a natural stance for all COP parameters. Girls maintained a two-legged standing position with lower sway velocity and a smaller range of sway than their male counterparts. Normal- and tall-statured girls demonstrated better postural stability significantly more often than boys.

Klíčová slova:

Age groups – Body height – Body limbs – Ellipses – Children – Postural control – Sensory systems – Walking


1. Clark JE, Metcalfe JS. The mountain of motor development: A metaphor, In: Clark JE, Humphrey J, editors. Motor development: Research and reviews. Reston, VA: NASPE Publications; 2002. Vol. 2. pp. 163–190.

2. Stodden D, Goodway J, Langendorfer S, Roberton M, Rudisill M, Garcia C, et al. A developmental perspective on the role of motor skill competence in physical activity: an emergent relationship. Quest. 2008; 60(2): 290–306.

3. Huxham FE, Goldie PA, Patla AE. Theoretical considerations in balance assessment. Australian Journal of Physiotherapy. 2001; 4: 89–100.

4. Maurer C, Mergner T, Peterka RJ. Multisensory control of human upright stance. Exp Brain Res. 2006; 171: 231–50. doi: 10.1007/s00221-005-0256-y 16307252

5. Massion J. Postural control systems in developmental perspective. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews. 1998; 4: 465–472.

6. Winter DA, Patla AE, Ishac M, Gage WH. Motor mechanisms of balance during quiet standing. Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology. 2003; 13: 49–56. doi: 10.1016/s1050-6411(02)00085-8 12488086

7. Ivanenko Y, Gurfinkel VS. Human Postural Control. Front. Neurosci. 2018; 12: 171. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2018.00171 29615859

8. Nolan L, Grigorenko A, Thorstensson A. Balance control: sex and age differences in 9- to 16-year-olds. Dev Med Child Neurol. 2005; 47: 449–454. doi: 10.1017/s0012162205000873 15991864

9. Barozzi S, Socci M, Soi D, Di Berardino F, Fabio G, Forti S, et al. Reliability of postural control measures in children and young adolescents. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2014; 271: 2069–2077. doi: 10.1007/s00405-014-2930-9 24557440

10. Moein E, Movaseghi F. Relationship between some anthropometric indices with dynamic and static balance in sedentary female college students. Turkish Journal of Sport and Exercise. 2016; 18; 1: 45–49.

11. Forssberg H. Neural control of human motor development. Current Opinion in Neurobiology. 1999; 9: 676–682. doi: 10.1016/s0959-4388(99)00037-9 10607646

12. Wolański N. Biological development of a human. Fundamentals of auxology, gerontology and health promotion. Warszawa: PWN; 2012. [in Polish]

13. Berger W, Trippel M, Assaiante C, Zijlstra W, Dietz V. Developmental aspects of equilibrium control during stance: a kinematic and EMG study. Gait & Posture. 1995; 3: 149–155.

14. Assaiante C. Development of locomotor balance control in healthy children. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews. 1998; 22(4): 527–532. doi: 10.1016/s0149-7634(97)00040-7 9595565

15. Hay L, Redon C. Feedforward versus feedback control in children and adults subjected to a postural disturbance. Experimental Brain Research. 1999; 125: 153–162. doi: 10.1007/s002210050670 10204768

16. Demura S, Kitabayashi T, Uchiyama M. Body sway characteristics during static upright posture in young children. Sport Sci Health. 2006; 1(4): 158–161.

17. Sa C, Boffino CC, Ramos RT, Tanaka C. Development of postural control and maturation of sensory systems in children of different ages a cross-sectional study. Braz J Phys Ther. 2018; 22(1): 70–76. doi: 10.1016/j.bjpt.2017.10.006 29239806

18. Lenroot RK, Giedd JN. Brain development in children and adolescents: Insights from anatomical magnetic resonance imaging. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews. 2006; 30: 718–729. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2006.06.001 16887188

19. Lenroot RK, Giedd MD. Sex differences in the adolescent brain. Brain Cogn. 2010; 72(1): 46. doi: 10.1016/j.bandc.2009.10.008 19913969

20. Alexander G, Wilcox T. Sex Differences in Early Infancy. Child Dev Perspect. 2012; 64: 400–406.

21. Plandowska M. Fulfilling the pre-school children’s need for movement. Biala Podlaska: WWFiS; 2016. [in Polish]

22. Venetsanou F, Kambas A. The effects of age and gender on balance skills in preschool children. Physical Education and Sport. 2011; 9(1): 81–90.

23. Livesey D, Coleman R, Piek J. Performance on the Movement Assessment Battery for Children by Australian 3-to 5-year-old children. Child Care Health Dev. 2007;33(6): 713–719. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2214.2007.00733.x 17944780

24. Webster EK, Martin CK, Staiano AE. Fundamental motor skills, screen-time, and physical activity in preschoolers. J Sport Health Sci. 2019; 8: 114–121. doi: 10.1016/j.jshs.2018.11.006 30997257

25. Wójtowicz-Chomicz K, Chwaluk A. Health state of 5-year-old children. In: Górniak K, editor. Psychophysical state of 5-year-olds from Biala Podlaska. Biala Podlaska WWFiS; 2017. [in Polish]

26. Le Clair K, Riach C. Postural stability measures: what to measure and for how long. Clinical Biomechanics. 1996; 11(3): 176–178. doi: 10.1016/0268-0033(95)00027-5 11415618

27. WHO Multicentre Growth Reference Study WHO Child Growth Standards. Length/height-for-age, weight-for-age, weight-for-length, weight-for-height and body mass index-for-age: Methods and development. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2006.

28. World Health Organization. Height-for-age (5–19). Available from:

29. Geldhof E, Cardon G, De Bourdeaudhuij I, Danneels L, Coorevits P, Vanderstraeten G, et al. Static and dynamic standing balance: test-retest reliability and reference values in 9 to 10 year old children. Eur J Pediatr. 2006; 165: 779–786. doi: 10.1007/s00431-006-0173-5 16738867

30. Lee AJY, Lin W. The influence of gender and somatotype on single-leg upright standing postural stability in children. Journal of Applied Biomechanics. 2007; 2: 173–179.

31. Smith AW, Ulmer FF, Wong DP. Gender differences in postural stability among children. Journal of Human Kinetics. 2012; 33: 25–32. doi: 10.2478/v10078-012-0041-5 23487417

32. Steindl R, Kunz K, Schrott -Fischer A, Scholtz AW. Effect of age and sex on maturation of sensory systems and balance control. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology. 2006; 44: 477–482.

33. Paniccia M, Wilson KE, Hunt A, Keightley M, Zabjek K, Taha T, et al. Postural stability in healthy child and youth athletes: the effect of age, sex, and concussion-related factors on performance. Sports Health. 2017; 10(2): 175–182. doi: 10.1177/1941738117741651 29131721

34. Kokstejn J, Musalek M, Tufano JJ. Are sex differences in fundamental motor skills uniform throughout the entire preschool period? PLoS ONE. 2017; 12(4): e0176556. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0176556 28448557

35. Schedler S, Kiss R, Muehlbauer T. Age and sex differences in human balance performance from 6–18 years of age: A systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS ONE. 2019; 14(4): e0214434. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0214434 30964877

36. Malina RM, Bouchard C, Bar-Or O. Growth, Maturation, and Physical Acitvity. 2nd ed. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics; 2004.

37. Peterson ML, Christou E, Rosengren KS. Children achieve adult-like sensory integration during stance at 12 years old. Gait & Posture. 2006; 23: 455–463.

38. Hirabayashi S, Iwasaki Y, Developmental perspective of sensory organization on postural control. Brain and Development. 1995; 17: 111–113. doi: 10.1016/0387-7604(95)00009-z 7542846

Článek vyšel v časopise


2019 Číslo 12