Overweight and obesity are associated with musculoskeletal complaints as early as childhood: a systematic review.
The prevalence of childhood obesity is increasing, and the risk of becoming an overweight adult is at least twice as high as normal-weight children. Furthermore, adult overweight has been associated with a higher prevalence of musculoskeletal complaints (MSC). Whether the same association is already apparent in childhood is not clarified yet, as most studies are contradictory. If a relationship between weight and MSC does exist, this might result in a vicious circle in which being overweight, MSC and a low fitness level reinforce each other. Paulis et al. systematically reviewed (i) the association between weight status and MSC in children, and examined (ii) whether overweight and obese children have a higher risk of developing MSC than normal-weight children.
The prevalence of musculoskeletal pain is 26% higher in overweight children than in normal weight children (moderate quality of evidence). The prevalence of low back pain was 42% higher in overweight children (low-quality of evidence). Although musculoskeletal pain is a frequent complaint in children in general, Paulis et al. suggest that its prevalence is still higher in overweight children. Even though the evidence is of very low quality, the studies in this review show an overall higher risk of injuries in overweight children. Treatment of childhood obesity must therefore be focused on the prevention of both overweight and MSC > From Paulis et al., Obes Rev (2013) (Epub ahead of print). All rights reserved to The Authors.
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