Why Do Fat People Waddle?

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Waddling is a type of swaying gait, where a person walks taking short steps from side to side, very similar to a duck.

A healthy individual whose body mass is in proportion to their height does not have the pressure of extra weight on their feet, as a result they can easily walk straight without any problem. In an obese person, the fat accumulation is so much at the thighs that legs do not appear to be in alignment with the rest of the body. The legs tend to bend outwards so instead of walking straight they move their legs in small circular motions.


Due to excess weight there is difficulty in maintaining balance and body control resulting in obese people taking shorter and wide strides than their leaner counterparts. Studies also show the speed with which they walk compared to non-obese people is much slower. The fat accumulation results in difficulty to maintain balance aposture. It causes the body to deviate away from equilibrium as a result of which they lose balance and sway. Thus, waddling mainly occurs due to this modification in the basic anatomy.

Though obese people have been carrying this excess load since long, they may be able to balance the extra weight while walking for quite some time before they start waddling. Several studies show that obese people spend more time in trying to stand rather than swaying during walking. As they tend to get tired faster, the number of steps taken are lesser and with reduced speed. Due to the exertion, they tend to gasp for breath and walking even minimum distances becomes cumbersome.

The extra pad of fat in the thighs causes rubbing of thighs while walking , which does not permit the normal walking motion and puts severe pressure on knees and legs .This can lead to long term damage to knees and early osteoarthritis.. Thus an imbalance in body mechanics leads to a waddling gait. This peculiar way of walking also makes obese people at the receiving end of other people’s jokes. Waddling resembles the movement of a duck or a penguin; hence it often looks funny when obese people walk. Waddling can also occur in pregnant females due to increased size of belly. There are many muscular medical conditions which can cause waddling which need to be investigated properly.

The only way to reduce waddling is to manage obesity by following a strict regime of diet and exercise. Weight loss has to be initiated immediately. This not only helps in gait but also improves  body balance and posture. Burning of extra calories also ensures a healthy and more active you.


Waddling in fat people is very normal due to the extra weight which leads to difficulty in walking straight. This mainly occurs due to imbalance in body and posture. The legs are not in a straight line with the rest of the body and are splayed forward due to which smaller steps are taken with a rocking motion. Waddling prevents them from walking faster thus putting extra pressure on the knees and legs. Weight loss is the only way of improving one’s gait and posture.

Author: rachita

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One Response

  1. Patricia Roberson

    March 7, 2018 8:25 am

    I’ve been very fat for several years now, but I’ve just started waddling.
    I’ve never minded being obese. I’m so perfectly rotund I actually kind of liked it, but the waddling… no.
    There’s nothing feminine about waffling.
    In my opinion anyway.


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