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Journal of Obesity
Volume 2012, Article ID 257468, 8 pages
Research Article

Gait and Function in Class III Obesity

1Graduate School of Nursing, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, 4301 Jones Bridge Road, Bethesda, MD 20814, USA
2College of Nursing, Medical University of South Carolina, 99 Jonathan Lucas Street, Charleston, SC 29425, USA
3College of Health Professions, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC 29425, USA

Received 18 May 2011; Accepted 26 November 2011

Academic Editor: Francesco Saverio Papadia

Copyright © 2012 Catherine Ling et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Walking, more specifically gait, is an essential component of daily living. Walking is a very different activity for individuals with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or more (Class III obesity) compared with those who are overweight or obese with a BMI between 26–35. Yet all obesity weight classes receive the same physical activity guidelines and recommendations. This observational study examined the components of function and disability in a group with Class III obesity and a group that is overweight or has Class I obesity. Significant differences were found between the groups in the areas of gait, body size, health condition, and activity capacity and participation. The Timed Up and Go test, gait velocity, hip circumference, and stance width appear to be most predictive of activity capacity as observed during gait assessment. The findings indicate that Class III-related gait is pathologic and not a normal adaptation.