WiiFit™ Plus balance test scores for the assessment of balance and mobility in older adults

Gait and Posture
Rebecca J. Reed-Jones, Sandor Dorgo , Maija K. Hitchings , Julia O. Bader

Highlights

► WiiFit™ balance tests do not correlate with standardized functional balance, mobility and fitness tests. ► Wii balance score does correlate with visual processing speed as measured by Useful Field of View. ► WiiFit™ may provide advantageous information supplementary to standard functional mobility and balance tests. ► Caution should be used when using the WiiFit™ balance tests in isolation to test balance ability.

Abstract 

The Nintendo Wii™ is becoming an increasingly popular technology for the training and assessment of balance in older adults. Recent studies have shown promising results for its use in fall prevention. However, it is not clear how scores on the WiiFit™ balance games relate to current standardized tests of balance and mobility. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the relationship between WiiFit™ Plus balance tests, and standardized tests of older adult fitness, balance, mobility, self-reported balance confidence, and visual attention and processing. Results from 34 older adult participants indicate that WiiFit™ balance tests do not correlate well with standardized functional balance, mobility and fitness tests. However, the Wii balance score, as measured by the Basic Balance Test of the WiiFit™, does correlate with visual processing speed as measured by the Useful Field of View (UFOV®) test. These results indicate that WiiFit™ balance tests may provide advantageous information supplementary to information obtained through standard functional mobility and balance tests; however, caution should be used when using the WiiFit™ balance tests in isolation. Further research is necessary as these technologies become widely used in clinical and home settings for balance training and assessment.
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