Japanese children walk differently than other countries, according to a new study linking body movement patterns and health.
The study that was recently released in the journal Scientific Reports found that the gait patterns of Japanese children aged 6 to 12 differ from those in other industrialized countries.
An individual’s gait is a complex and unconscious pattern of movement vital to day-to-day functioning, consisting of a sequence of movements using the hip, knee and foot.
Age-related variations in lower extremity movements during walking were studied by scientists at the University of Nagoya in Japan. The researchers believe that understanding walking patterns can be of great benefit in determining a person’s health and quality of life.
During the study, the scientists found four key differences between the different age groups.
In Japanese children in the 11-12 year old age group, the number of steps taken per minute was higher than in the 6-8 year old age group. The researchers also discovered a reduction in stride and stride length in children aged 11 to 12 compared to those in the 9 to 10 age group.
Children in the 11-12 year age group also showed less range of motion in the knee during their gait cycle. With increasing age, the children had a higher plantar flexion movement, which refers to the movement when pointing the toes at the beginning of walking.
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That co-author of the study, Ito Tadashi from the Department of Integrated Health Science at Nagoya University believes that several factors influence the gait pattern of Japanese children.
“We believe differences in lifestyle, physique and cultural factors influence the gait of Japanese children,” Ito told the Independent. “This is unlikely to affect the health of Japanese children. But it points to characteristics that differ from those of children in other countries. These results provide an important tool for assessing normal and pathological gait and can determine the effectiveness of orthopedic treatment and rehabilitation for gait disorders.”
With the research results, the scientists hope to learn how to assess developmental changes and gait abnormalities based on the gait pattern of children.
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