The Use of Functional Reach as a Measurement of Balance in Boys and Girls Without Disabilities Ages 5 to 15 Years

Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 1994

Publication Source

Pediatric Physical Therapy


The purposes of this study were: (1) to determine the reliability of the Functional Reach Test in children 5 to 15 years of age; (2) to determine age-related functional reach values for children 5 to 15 years of age; and (3) to determine the effects of age, gender, height, weight, and arm length on functional reach. One hundred sixteen volunteers without disabilities, ranging in age from 5 to 15 years, were selected to participate in this study. Functional reach was assessed by having subjects extend their arms to 90 degrees and reach as far forward as they could without taking a step. Reach was recorded by noting the beginning and final position of the subject's extended arm parallel to a yard stick attached to the wall. A reliability study was performed with 15 subjects to determine interrater, intrarater, and test-retest reliability of the test procedure. Intraclass correlation coefficients (2, 1) showed interrater, intrarater, and test-retest reliability to be acceptable (r = 0.98, 0.83, and 0.75, respectively). In the descriptive study group of 116 subjects, mean reach values by age groups were determined. A stepwise regression showed age to account for 38% of the variance in functional reach. As physical therapists continue to develop balance assessment tools for the pediatrie population, the Functional Reach Test may be a useful tool.

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Permission documentation on file.


Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins



Peer Reviewed