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Overweight Children Have More Pain, Fractures

More than 21 percent of overweight children report knee pain, versus 16.7 percent of normal weight peers

WEDNESDAY, June 7 (HealthDay News) -- Overweight children experience more bone fractures and weight-related musculoskeletal pain than their peers who are not overweight, according to a report published in the June issue of Pediatrics.

Erica D. Taylor, M.S., of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues analyzed medical records of 227 overweight and 128 non-overweight children and adolescents involved in clinical studies between 1996 and 2004.

Many of the overweight children who answered the questionnaires reported more mobility problems and impairment. Overall, 21.4 percent of the overweight children reported knee pain, compared to 16.7 percent of normal weight children. A medical chart review showed that overweight children were nearly five times as likely (odds ratio, 4.54) as their peers to have a documented skeletal fracture. They were also four times as likely to have any musculoskeletal pain and nearly three times as likely to have documented knee pain (6.6 percent versus 2.3 percent).

"Reported fractures, musculoskeletal discomfort, impaired mobility, and lower extremity malalignment are more prevalent in overweight than non-overweight children and adolescents," the authors write. "Because they affect the likelihood that children will engage in physical activity, orthopedic difficulties may be part of the cycle that perpetuates the accumulation of excess weight in children."

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