Obesity in childhood already affects 17% of all children and adolescents in the United States and the prevalence is still increasing in most of the countries of the world. In Germany the prevalence of childhood obesity increased by almost 50% and the statistics show comparable data in Austria.
Scientific investigations show that threre is a strong correlation beween obesity and changes in biomechanical characteristics during locomotion. Especially the combination of increased body mass and biomechanical misalignments (increased genu valgum for example) can lead to increased joint loads in hip and knee. An increased joint load over longer periods of time increases the risk of progressing osteoarthritis in adulthood.


It is scientifically proven that specific training programmes to improve neuromuscular conditions and muscle strength of lower extremity muscles are able to reduce loads on knee and hip joints for obese individuals. Anyway the detailed biomechanical mechanisms behind this findings are relatively unknown. Therefore the aim of the Children’s Knees study is to analyse the changes in biomechanical characteristics of hip and knee joint of obese children and adolescents during walking and stair climbing and to develop a specific exercise programme based on these biomechanical findings. A randomised controlled trial will deliver the effectivity of the exercise programme from biomechanical and therapeutical perspective.


A total of 48 obese boys and girls aged between 10 and 18 years will be recruited for this study and randomly assigned to an intervention and control group. Participants of the intervention group will undergo a 12 week neuromuscular and quadriceps/hip strengthening programme. A randomised controlled trial (RCT) will be performed, including a 3D gait analysis (motion capturing procedure) during level walking and stair climbing before and after the intervention programme. Differences in defined biomechanical parameters (knee adduction moment for example) will be quantified and analysed.

Time Plan