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Girls who are overweight may be more prone to seeking medical attention for musculoskeletal issues.
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Girls who are overweight may be more prone to seeking medical attention for musculoskeletal issues.

According to research, young girls between the ages of four and 11 who are overweight or obese are more prone to visiting a GP for musculoskeletal issues compared to their peers who are at a healthy weight.

The study determined that students in their first year of school who had a high body mass index were 24% more likely to visit a doctor for a musculoskeletal problem, while those with obesity were 67% more likely than their peers of a healthy weight.

In the study, it was found that girls in the sixth grade who were obese had a 20% higher chance of visiting a doctor for musculoskeletal issues. On the other hand, boys who were considered underweight based on their BMI were 61% less likely to seek medical attention for such problems compared to children with a normal weight.

The study, published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood journal, centered on a specific region in London, and revealed that knee and back issues were the most commonly reported symptoms or diagnoses.

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“In our previous systematic review, we found limited research and generally fair or moderate quality evidence.”

“We investigate the effects of obesity on musculoskeletal health among children in primary school, specifically in a diverse population in the UK where childhood obesity and economic hardship are prevalent.”

Out of all the reception year children who had at least one visit to a musculoskeletal health specialist, 46% of boys and 41.5% of girls reported experiencing knee pain. In comparison, for year 6 children, 40.4% of boys and 36% of girls reported knee pain.

22% of boys and 32% of girls in reception year reported experiencing back pain, while 30% of boys and 45% of girls in year 6 also reported the same issue.

Girls in the reception year who were diagnosed with obesity were more prone to seeking medical attention for musculoskeletal issues compared to their peers of healthy weight. However, there was no discernible difference among the boys.

Firman stated that research in Spain and the US has shown a higher occurrence of back pain in girls compared to boys. However, there is limited evidence examining the connection between obesity and musculoskeletal health during early years.

The participants consisted of students from four different primary schools in ethnically diverse areas of north-east London.

Katharine Jenner, director of the Obesity Health Alliance, responded to the study, stating that children in primary school should be playing outside, rather than suffering in a doctor’s office.

The government has a plan to combat obesity, which could potentially improve the outcomes for children. However, they have not implemented most of the plan and reaching the goal of reducing childhood obesity by half by 2030 seems increasingly unlikely.

Source: theguardian.com