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Associations between childhood obesity and upper and lower extremity injuries


Objectives To estimate the overall and age-specific associations between obesity and extremity musculoskeletal injuries and pain in children.

Methods This cross-sectional study used information from electronic medical records of 913 178 patients aged 2–19 years enrolled in an integrated health plan in the period 2007–2009. Children were classified as underweight, normal weight, overweight, or moderately/extremely obese and, using multivariable logistic regression methods, the associations between weight class and diagnosis of upper or lower extremity fractures, sprains, dislocations and pain were calculated.

Results Overweight (OR 1.18, 95% CI 1.15 to 1.20), moderately obese (OR 1.24, 95% CI 1.20 to 1.27) and extremely obese (OR 1.34, 95% CI 1.30 to 1.39) children had statistically significantly higher odds of lower extremity injuries/pain compared to normal weight, adjusted for sex, age, race/ethnicity and insurance status. Age-stratified analyses yielded similar results. No consistent association was observed between body mass index and injuries/pain of the upper extremities.

Conclusions Greater body mass index is associated with increased odds of lower extremity injuries and pain issues. Because the benefits of physical activity may still outweigh the risk of injury, attention should be paid to injury prevention strategies for these children at greater risk for lower extremity injuries.

  • Obesity
  • body weight
  • childhood
  • fractures
  • injuries
  • populations/contexts
  • child
  • youth
  • outcome of injury
  • pain
  • risk/determinants
  • body mass
  • adolescent

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