London - Essex may not seem the most obvious subject for scientists.

But they are taking a serious look at how residents there walk the walk – and how their stride compares to that of New Yorkers.

They want volunteers to come forward to help with their research, intended to help treat various serious conditions.

Maybe Amy Childs, former star of TV show The Only Way is Essex, will wiggle up to the plate in her high heels.

Volunteers from Essex will have their walking style analysed under laboratory conditions. The force of their steps will be measured by pressure plates in the floor at Anglia Ruskin University in Chelmsford.

As they walk, their movement will be captured in 3D images.

The results will be compared to patients from the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, including those who have had hip and knee replacements, back problems or amputations.

The reseachers say subtle geographical differences in walking style may affect a person’s susceptibility to mobility problems.

“It is important to have a reference database of ‘normal’ gaits to compare patients to,” said Dr Rajshree Mootanah, who is leading the study.

She added: “The only database we have is of the New York population and we believe there may be slight but still significant differences to the way our local population walks.”

The project, which began last month, will be looking into sports science as well as prosthetic limbs and how to help disabled people walk. - Daily Mail