Defining patterns of sagittal standing posture in girls and boys of school age

Fábio Azevedo Araújo*, Milton Severo, Nuno Alegrete, Laura D. Howe, Raquel Lucas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
252 Downloads (Pure)


Background. Sagittal postural patterns are associated with back pain in adolescents and adults. However, whether postural patterns are already observable during childhood is unknown. Such a finding would confirm childhood as a key period for posture differentiation and thus for chronic pain etiology. Objective. The aims of this study were to identify and describe postural patterns in girls and boys of school age. Design. This was a cross-sectional study. Methods. Eligible children were evaluated at age 7 in the population-based birth cohort Generation XXI in Portugal. Posture was assessed through right-side photographs during habitual standing with retroreflective markers placed on body landmarks. Postural patterns were defined from trunk, lumbar, and sway angles with model-based clusters, and associations with anthropometric measures were assessed by multinomial logistic regression. Results. Posture was evaluated in 1,147 girls and 1,266 boys. Three postural patterns were identified: sway (26.9%), flat (20.9%), and neutral to hyperlordotic (52.1%) in girls and sway to neutral (58.8%), flat (36.3%), and hyperlordotic (4.9%) in boys. In girls, a higher body mass index was associated with a sway pattern (versus a flat pattern: odds ratio=1.21; 95% CI=1.12, 1.29), whereas in boys, a higher body mass index was associated with a hyperlordotic pattern (versus a flat pattern: odds ratio=1.30; 95% CI=1.17, 1.44). Limitations. Photogrammetry as a noninvasive method for posture assessment may have introduced some postural misclassifications. Conclusions. Postural patterns in 7-year-old children were consistent with those previously found in adults, suggesting that childhood is a sensitive period for posture differentiation. Sagittal morphology differed between girls and boys, emphasizing sex-specific biomechanical loads during a habitual upright position even in prepubertal ages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)258-267
Number of pages10
JournalPhysical Therapy
Issue number2
Early online date6 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017

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