Objectives: To look at the relationship between obesity and trauma among young people in the Hainaut Province in Belgium.
Design: A cross-sectional study (questionnaire and physical examination) was conduced among a sample of 2363 children of 9- to 17-year-olds (n = 2363) in 1998.
Results: In the past 12 months prior to the survey, 37% of the sample had at least one injury requiring treatment (with or without hospitalization), and 5% had a severe injury (with at least one night at the hospital). More than 15% were classified to be obese according to the WHO definition. We observed a significantly higher frequency of injury in obese people, in boys, in subjects playing sport intensively, with members of a sports club and in those reporting more than one physical activity per week. In multivariate analysis for injury, gender, physical activity, playing sport in a club and obesity were significant. For severe injuries, only gender and physical activity remained significant in the multivariate analysis.
Conclusion: Our analysis shows that childhood obesity and physical activity increase the occurrence of injuries. However, we did not observe an association between obesity and severe injuries. Obesity as a risk factor for the occurrence of injuries has to be confirmed by other studies, and the understanding of the mechanism for the observed association needs more investigation.