Investigating the Relationship between Body Mass Index and Pain in the Spine in Children or Adolescents: A Systematic Review

Child Obes. 2021 Mar;17(2):86-99. doi: 10.1089/chi.2020.0266. Epub 2021 Feb 10.

Abstract

Background: Neck pain (NP), back pain (BP), and low back pain (LBP) are generally defined as "pain in the spine." With the increasing prevalence of childhood obesity, secondary problems such as pain in the spine have arisen. The purpose of this review was to investigate the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and pain in the spine in children or adolescents. Methods: Publications were searched in PubMed, Web of Science, Scopus, and Google Scholar databases up to December 12, 2020. The search strategy in the database consisted of free text words and MeSH terms. Results: Twelve studies were reviewed. It was determined that different methods were used in all 12 studies to evaluate pain. In the evaluation of overweight/obesity, these studies performed BMI assessment by dividing body weight in kilograms by height squared. Five studies showed a relationship between LBP and BMI, two studies showed a relationship between BP and BMI, and two studies showed a relationship between NP and BMI. Conclusions: The review shows that there is a relationship between BMI and pain in the spine, especially LBP. There may be factors affecting this condition such as mechanical loading and hormonal metabolic activity in childhood and adolescence. Different methods are used in the studies in literature for the assessment pain in the spine and BMI, overweight, and obesity.

Keywords: adolescent; back pain; children; low back pain; neck pain; pediatric obesity.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain* / epidemiology
  • Low Back Pain* / etiology
  • Overweight / complications
  • Overweight / epidemiology
  • Pediatric Obesity* / complications
  • Pediatric Obesity* / epidemiology
  • Spine