Body morphology and gait transition of adolescents: A comprehensive approach
The purpose of the current study was two-fold: i) to find best the predictive model, consisted of anthropometric, body composition and body proportion variables, in explaining gait transition among population of adolescents; ii) to identify possible sex differences in these relationships. The sample included 116 participants (63 boys and 53 girls, aged 14.3 ± 0.5 years, height: 1.69 ± 0.07 m, weight: 58.7 ± 10.7 kg). The effects of sex and differences between walk-to-run (WRT) and run-to-walk transition (RWT) speeds were assessed by the 2-way ANOVA, and Pearson’s coefficient correlation was used to examine relations between preferred transition speed (PTS) and body characteristics. Backward multiple regression was applied to identify the best-fit model for the PTS. Boys displayed significantly higher PTS compared to girls (t = 4.407, p < 0.001), as well as WRT and RWT speeds (F = 19.423, p < 0.001). In the boy sample, various longitudinal, transversal and body composition measures showed moderate association (r = 0.312 - 0.412) with PTS, whereas the best-fitting model included body fat percentage, ankle diameter and shoulder diameter (R² = 0.383, p < 0.01). In girls, only body height, leg length and ankle diameter were significantly related with PTS (r ~ 0.27, p < 0.05), while the best-fit model extracted body height as the only significant factor in the manifestation of the gait transition (R² = 0.081, p < 0.05). Present results indicate that the relationship between body morphology and PTS has a sex-specific influence and that different factors, opposite to adults, affect values of the transition speed of early adolescents.