Balance is a composite ability requiring the integration of multiple systems. The Balance Evaluation Systems Test (BESTest) and 2 abbreviated versions (the Mini-BESTest and the Brief-BESTest) are balance assessment tools that target these systems. To date, no normative data exist for any version of the BESTest.
The purpose of this study was to determine the age-related normative scores on the BESTest, Mini-BESTest, and Brief-BESTest for Canadians who are healthy and 50 to 89 years of age.
A cross-sectional study design was used.
Seventy-nine adults who were healthy and aged 50 to 89 years (mean age=68.9 years; 50.6% women) participated. Normative scores were reported by age decade.
Mean BESTest scores were 95.7 (95% confidence interval [CI]=94.4–97.1) for adults who were aged 50 to 59 years, 91.4 (95% CI=89.8–93.0) for those who were aged 60 to 69 years, 85.4 (95% CI=82.5–88.2) for those who were aged 70 to 79 years, and 79.4 (95% CI=74.3–84.5) for those who were aged 80 to 89 years. Similar results were obtained for the Mini-BESTest and the Brief-BESTest, and all 3 tests showed statistically significant differences in scores among the age cohorts.
Because only adults who were 50 to 89 years of age were tested, there are still no normative data for people outside this age range. Also, the scores presented may not be generalizable to all countries.
These normative data enhance the clinical utility of the BESTest, Mini-BESTest, and Brief-BESTest by providing clinicians with reference points to guide treatment.