PURPOSE: The obesity epidemic in children is spreading at alarming rates. Because musculoskeletal problems can influence physical activity, we compared the frequency of musculoskeletal problems in overweight and obese children with that in normal-weight children. METHODS: We performed a cross-sectional database and face-to-face interview study that included 2,459 children aged 2 to 17 years from Dutch family practices. We collected data on self-reported height and weight (body mass index), self-reported musculoskeletal problems in the 2 weeks before the interview, number of family physician consultations for musculoskeletal problems in 1 year, and age (2 age-groups were analyzed: 2 to 11 years and 12 to 17 years, because of the proxy interview in the youngest age-group). We calculated the odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) for musculoskeletal problems in overweight and obese children, compared with normal-weight children. RESULTS: Overweight and obese children in both age-groups (2 to 11 years and 12 to 17 years) reported significantly more musculoskeletal problems (OR = 1.86; 95% CI, 1.18-2.93; and OR = 1.69; 95% CI, 1.08-2.65, respectively) than normal-weight children. The total group of children who were overweight or obese reported more lower extremity problems than did the normal-weight children (OR = 1.62; 95% CI, 1.09-2.41); furthermore, they reported more ankle and foot problems than children who were of normal weight (OR = 1.92; 95% CI, 1.15-3.20). Overweight and obese children aged 12 to 17 years consulted their family physicians more often with lower extremity problems than did the normal-weight children (OR = 1.92; 95% CI, 1.05-3.51). CONCLUSION: This study shows that overweight and obese children more frequently experience musculoskeletal problems than do normal-weight children.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Children, Musculoskeletal, Obesity, Overweight
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1370/afm.1005, hdl.handle.net/1765/16734
Citation
Krul, M., van der Wouden, J.C., Schellevis, F.G., van Suijlekom-Smit, L.W.A., & Koes, B.W.. (2009). Musculoskeletal problems in overweight and obese children. Annals of Family Medicine, 7(4), 352–356. doi:10.1370/afm.1005