Effect of Nintendo® Wii FitTM Balance Games on Postural Control and Balance Among Adults with Down Syndrome

Michelle Miller, Melissa Powers, Jacilyn Olson, Donna Kearn


A Nintendo Wii Fit gaming device may eliminate several barriers to exercise and promote participation in balance training among adults with Down syndrome (DS). This study seeks to determine if a Nintendo Wii balance exercise regimen will improve postural control and balance among adults with DS over the age of 18. Nine participants were randomly divided into a treatment (TR) and control (CR) group. A TekScan HR mat was used to measure the following variables: anterior/posterior sway (AP), medial/lateral sway (ML), area (A), distance (D), and variability (V) in two feet eyes open (EO) and two feet eyes closed (EC) stances. A 2X2 RM ANOVA was utilized to analyze results as well as Cohen’s d for effect size calculations. There were no significant differences found within group-by-time interaction, time, and group effects for any dependent variable (p>.05). Effect sizes were calculated for EOTR: AP (d = -.44), ML (d = -.03), A (d = -.47), D (d = -.48), and V (d = -.29. Values for the EOCR saw a larger effect among all variables: AP (d = -.84), ML (d = -.17), area (d = -.73), D (d = -.78), and V (d = -.67). ECTR values were as follows: AP (d = -.91), ML (d = -.53), A (d = -.76), D (d = -.69), and V (d = -.71). Values for ECCR are as follows: AP (d = -.41), ML (d = +2.81), A (d = -.48), D (d = -.42), and V (d = -.21). Although there were not statistically significant improvements in postural control between groups or over time, based on effect size calculations either of these training methods may still be an effective mode of improving postural control.

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