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Obesity Not Linked to Low Back Pain in Twin Study

When considering genetics, no increased risk for chronic LBP for any obesity-related measures

overweight woman

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 25, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Obesity-related measures are not associated with the risk of developing chronic low-back pain (LBP) after accounting for genetic factors, according to a study published in the February issue of The Spine Journal.

Amabile Borges Dario, from the University of Sydney, and colleagues conducted a prospective cohort study to examine whether obesity-related measures increase the risk of chronic LBP outcomes. Data were obtained for 1,098 twins from the Murcia Twin Registry in Spain, aged 43 to 71 years, without chronic LBP at baseline. After two to four years, data on chronic LBP, activity-limiting LBP, and care-seeking for LBP were collected.

The researchers found that there was no increase in chronic LBP risk for any obesity-related measures: body mass index (men/women, odds ratio [OR], 0.99; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 0.86 to 1.14), percentage fat mass (women, OR, 0.87; 95 percent CI, 0.66 to 1.14), waist circumference (women, OR, 0.98; 95 percent CI, 0.74 to 1.3), and waist-to-hip ratio (women, OR, 1.05; 95 percent CI, 0.81 to 1.36). For activity-limiting LBP and care-seeking due to LBP, the results were similar. The nonsignificant results remained unchanged after adjustment for genetics and early environmental factors shared by twins.

"After two to four years, obesity-related measures did not increase the risk of developing chronic LBP or care-seeking for LBP with or without adjustment for familial factors such as genetics in Spanish adults," the authors write.

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