According to a new study linking body movement patterns and health, Japanese children walk differently from those in other countries.
The study, which was recently published in the journal “Scientific Reports,” found that gait patterns among Japanese children aged 6 to 12 vary from those in other developed countries.
An individual’s gait is a complex and unconscious motor pattern vital for daily functioning, and comprises of a sequence of movements using the hip, knee and foot.
Age related variations in lower limb movements while walking were studied by scientists from Nagoya University in Japan. The researchers believe that understanding walking patterns may be significantly beneficial in determining an individual’s health and quality of life.
During the study, scientists found four key differences among the different age groups.
For Japanese children in the 11-12 year age group, the number of steps performed each minute was higher than those in the 6-8 year age group. Researchers also discovered a decrease in step and stride length for children aged 11-12 compared to those in the 9-10 year age group.
Children in the 11-12 age group also displayed less range of motion in the knee during their gait cycle. As the children got older, they had a higher plantar flexion movement, which refers to the motion when pointing toes at the beginning of walking.
The co-author of the study, Ito Tadashi from the Department of Integrated Health Science at Nagoya University, believes that several factors affect gait patterns among Japanese children.
“We believe that differences in lifestyle, build, and cultural factors all affect Japanese children’s gait,” Ito told Independent. “This is not likely to affect the health of Japanese children. But it does indicate characteristics different 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’s findings, scientists are hoping to learn how to assess developmental changes and gait abnormalities through children’s gait patterns.