Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation published research comparing partial body weight supported treadmill training (PBWSTT) versus overground walking. Thirty four children (mean age 10 yrs, 10 months)classified Level III or IV on the Gross Motor Function Classification System were assigned to the experimental group (PBWSTT) or the control group (overground walking). After 9 weeks of the training, 2 times per week, the overground walking group "showed a trend for an increase in the distance walked over 10 minutes". No significant difference was found in the School Function Assessment in walking speed or walking function. The researchers concluded that PBWSTT may be no more effective than overground walking for improving walking speed and endurance.
Reference: Kate L. Willoughby,Karen J. Dodd, PhD, Nora Shields, PhDd, Sarah Foley. Efficacy of Partial Body Weight–Supported Treadmill Training Compared With Overground Walking Practice for Children With Cerebral Palsy: A Randomized Controlled Trial Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Volume 91, Issue 3, Pages 333-339 (March 2010)