Is obesity associated with injuries among young people?

Eur J Epidemiol. 2004;19(11):1037-42. doi: 10.1007/s10654-004-0158-5.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Belgium / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Sports
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / etiology*