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Obese children twice as likely to suffer musculoskeletal problems

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Overweight and obese children are almost twice as likely to suffer from musculoskeletal problems as children of normal weight, latest study results suggest.

The research, which studied 2,459 children aged between two and 17 years, found that those who were obese up to the age of 11 were 1.86 times more likely to report musculoskeletal problems in daily life than their normal-weight peers.

The researchers also found that obese children aged between 12 and 17 were 1.69 times more likely to experience muscle and bone pain than normal-weight children.

Additionally, obese and overweight children across both age groups were almost twice as likely to seek medical help for ankle and foot problems, the researchers said.

Lead study author Dr Marjolein Krul, of Erasmus MC University Medical Centre in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, said obese children are caught in a ‘vicious circle’ where being overweight, having musculoskeletal problems and low fitness levels reinforce each other.

‘Normal-weight children with musculoskeletal problems are possibly less active and can therefore become overweight, and musculoskeletal problems can prevent overweight and obese children from successfully using exercise to reduce body weight,’ she said.

‘It is therefore important to be aware of the higher occurrence of musculoskeletal problems in these children, to provide adequate management of their problems, and to give healthy lifestyle advice proactively,’ she added in the journal Annals of Family Medicine.

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