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The effects of dietary fasting on physical balance among healthy young women

Shanthi Johnson1* and Krista Leck2

Author affiliations

1 Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies, University of Regina, 3737 Wascana Parkway, Regina, Saskatchewan S4S 0A2, Canada

2 Formerly, School of Nutrition & Dietetics, Acadia University, 12 University Avenue, Wolfville, Nova Scotia, B4P 2R6, Canada

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Citation and License

Nutrition Journal 2010, 9:18  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-9-18

Published: 13 April 2010



The study examined the effects of dietary fasting on physical balance among young healthy women.


This study undertaken involving 22 young healthy women (age = 22 ± 1.5) using a within subject counterbalanced 2-week crossover study design. Participants were asked to refrain from consuming any food or beverage for 12 hours prior to the fasting trial and to maintain their regular diet for the non-fasting trial. Measures included: a background questionnaire, 24-hour dietary recall, and functional reach and timed single-limb stances.


Fasting resulted in significant declines in functional reach (p < 0.01), and ability to balance in a single limb stance with eyes open, on both the dominant and non-dominant legs (p < 0.01 and p < 0.01, respectively), and with eyes closed on the dominant leg (p < 0.01).


The findings have implications for athletic performance in younger individuals as well as emphasizing the need for health education for young women to avoid skipping meals.