Despite the prevalence of obesity, how obesity affects human physical capabilities is not well documented. As an effort toward addressing this, the current study investigated the obesity effect on joint range of motion (RoM) based on data collected from 20 obese and 20 non-obese males. In total, 30 inter-segmental motions occurring at the shoulder, elbow, knee and ankle joints and lumbar and cervical spine areas were examined. The obesity effect was found to be non-uniform across the joint motions. Obesity significantly reduced RoM for nine of the 30 motions: shoulder extensions and adductions, lumbar spine extension and lateral flexions and knee flexions. The largest significant RoM reduction was 38.9% for the left shoulder adduction. The smallest was 11.1% for the right knee flexion. The obesity-associated RoM reductions appear to be mainly due to the mechanical interposition and obstruction of inter-segmental motions caused by excess fat in the obese body. Statement of Relevance: Currently, obesity is prevalent worldwide and its prevalence is expected to increase continually in the near future. This study empirically characterised the obesity effects on joint RoM to provide better understanding of the physical capabilities of the obese. The study findings will facilitate designing man-artefact systems that accommodate obese individuals.
- Body joint motions
- Range of motion
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Human Factors and Ergonomics
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation