Obesity in childhood can lead to muscle pain and a rise in back care need

7th April 2011

Being overweight as a child or adolescent could bring orthopaedic problems later in life, a study has discovered.

The results of a long-term study conducted at Curtin University's School of Physiotherapy showed that there was a clear link between Body Mass Index (BMI) in children aged between the ages of three and 14, and posture leading to back pain later in life.

Researchers tested four main posture areas, and discovered that children and teenagers with higher BMIs were more likely to have non-neutral postures because more pressure was placed on the spine, which causes back pain.

Senior lecturer Dr Anne Smith said: "This relationship between BMI and spinal posture is concerning, as it suggests increasing load on the spine over the growth period may change the structure of the spine."

NHS statistics released at the end of last year revealed that a third of children in the UK are overweight by the age of six.

Posted by Edward Bartel


1. Smith, Dr Anne. "Obesity in childhood leads to poor posture and back pain." Curtin University's School of Physiotherapy, the Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute and the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research.

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