Obesity is an ever increasing global problem that results in an increase in the risk of contracting diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases and musculoskeletal disorders. This is especially so in children as the obesity rates are rising at a shocking rate. Studies have concluded that overweight and obese have double the risk of suffering from musculoskeletal disorders compared to children who are fit and healthy. Is there any way to combat this problem and what exactly is the link? Let’s discuss about this in the article below.
Childhood obesity and musculoskeletal problems are influenced by the morphology of the development of connective tissues such as ligaments and tendons. Children who are less active will have a reduction in cartilage accrual and this is associated with obese kids who are less inclined to participate in sporting activities. Childhood time is the most crucial for body development including the hips and knees. A reduction in cartilage accrual led to an externally rotated lower limb due to the need for the lower body to support the added weight. An increase in body weight also affects the knee alignment directly. Obesity is linked to Blount’s disease due to the biomechanical overload of the proximal tibial physis. Obesity also leads to a decrease in bone density. Biomechanical factors affects bone metabolism and it is the childhood period where the strength and quality of bones are often decided. This can lead to long term complications when transiting into adulthood.
Obesity also leads to an increase in musculoskeletal pain. There is a clear relation between increased weight to pain and this is due to biomechanical changes in obese kids resulting in compensatory mechanisms for the body, causing it to misalign joints to better support the body. There have been reports of increases in fracture cases for obese children lately. In fact, the fat mass protects the hip and vertebral from fractures but increases the chances of fracture at the ankle and humerus. Parents should advise their children to take in Vitamin D and minerals supplementation to build strong bones.
The increase in the number of obese children is shocking and of concern since there is a direct link between obesity and musculoskeletal problems. It is important for parents to monitor the nutrition level of the foods provided and restrict excessive intake of junk food. Parents should also engage in sports with their kids to promote a healthy lifestyle from young.