Objective: To investigate the impact of obesity on musculoskeletal pain and disability, which impairs well-being, associations between body mass index (BMI), frequency of musculoskeletal pain and difficulty of daily movements were assessed in middle-aged women.
Methods: Subjects were 709 Japanese women in a community, aged 40-69. Measured BMI, current smoking habits, frequency of pain (pain score)(rarely (0), occasionally (1) or frequently (2)) during the last 1 month at shoulders, neck, upper back, lower back and legs, difficulty of three daily movements: walking continually for more than a half hour, climbing stairs and sitting on the floor with one's legs bent beneath one another, (score for each movement) (rarely (0), occasionally (1) or frequently (2)) by a questionnaire. The summed score was defined as the difficulty score of daily movements (DS) (0-6).
Results: BMI increased significantly with age. Lower back pain (occasionally or frequently) was the most common symptom (40.3%) in the subjects. There was a peak in prevalence of frequent pain of shoulders at age 50. Pain score for legs and DS increased significantly with age. Higher BMI was related to increased prevalence of frequent leg pain and DS (>or=3), but there were no significant associations between age or BMI, and scores of back pain. DS was correlated significantly with pain scores at shoulders, upper back, lower back and legs. After adjustment for age and smoking habit using a logistic regression analysis, odds ratios for frequent pain at legs and DS (>or=3) were 4.02 (CI: 1.83-8.80) and 2.92 (CI: 1.56-5.47), respectively, in the obese women (BMI>or=26.4, n=61), compared with 401 women with normal BMI (20-24).
Conclusion: Obesity tended to impair well-being through musculoskeletal pain at legs and difficulty of daily movements in Japanese middle-aged women.