It ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it”: does obesity affect perceptual motor control ability of adults on the speed and accuracy of a discrete aiming task?”

Type Article

Journal Article


D. Gaul; L. Fernandez; J. Issartel

Year of publication



Exp Brain Res








The ability to control speed and accuracy of goal directed aiming tasks underpins many activities of daily living. Recent evidence has begun to suggest that obesity can affect the control of movement. This study evaluated perceptual motor control of 183 normal weight, overweight, and obese participants using a discrete Fitts' task on a digital tablet. In addition, we manipulated tablet orientation to determine whether tablet orientation influences task difficulty with the view to increase the task's constraints. Our study found that the traditional relationship between target distance and target width hold true for each of the three weight groups in both tablet orientations. Interestingly, no significant differences were found for movement time between the groups, while movement kinematics differed between weight groups. Obese participants demonstrated significantly higher peak acceleration values in the horizontal tablet orientation when compared to their normal weight and overweight counterparts. Further to this, obese participants made significantly more errors than normal weight and overweight groups. These findings suggest that obese individuals have altered control strategies compared to their normal weight peers.