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Musculoskeletal pain in obese children and adolescents

Authors

  • Steven D Stovitz,

    1. Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota
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  • Perrie E Pardee,

    1. Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition, Department of Pediatrics, San Diego School of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, California
    2. Rady Children's Hospital, San Diego, California
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  • Gabriela Vazquez,

    1. Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota
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  • Sue Duval,

    1. Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota
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  • Jeffrey B Schwimmer

    1. Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition, Department of Pediatrics, San Diego School of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, California
    2. Rady Children's Hospital, San Diego, California
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Correspondence
Jeffrey B. Schwimmer, M.D., Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition, Department of Pediatrics, University of California, San Diego, 200 West Arbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92103-8450. Tel: 619-543-7544 | Fax: 619-543-7537 | Email: jschwimmer@ucsd.edu

Abstract

Aim: To determine whether bodyweight is associated with musculoskeletal pain within a population of obese children and adolescents.

Methods: A descriptive, cross-sectional study of subjects evaluated at a tertiary care medical centre for the management of obesity. Analyses were conducted using both a person-specific model, and then again, using a joint site model in order to account for correlations between joints within children.

Results: We evaluated 135 children and adolescents (68 girls, 67 boys) with a mean age of 12.3 years (range: 3–18). The study population was racially and ethnically diverse – Hispanic (51%), non-Hispanic white (26%), non-Hispanic black (13%), other (10%). The majority of subjects (61%) complained of at least one joint hurting more than once per month. Back pain was the most common complaint (39%), followed by foot (26%) and knee (24%) pain. After adjustment for age, pain in the knees and hips were associated with increased weight and/or body mass index (BMI).

Conclusions: In this cross-sectional analysis of obese children and adolescents, musculoskeletal pain was common and, in the knee and hip joints, was positively associated with extra bodyweight. Clinicians may want to ask about musculoskeletal pain when recommending physical activity for weight management counselling.

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