Objective: It has been suggested that overweight/obesity (OW/OB) impairs the normal alignment of children and adolescents' musculoskeletal system. However, to date, no study has systematically reviewed or quantified the effect of OW/OB on the development of joint malalignments in children and adolescents. The purpose of this study was to systematically review the association between OW/OB and joint alignment in children and adolescents and to quantify the evidence on whether children and adolescents with OW/OB have a higher risk of developing joint malalignments than their peers of normal weight.
Methods: PubMed and Web of Science databases were systematically searched from inception to March 9, 2020. Studies investigating the association between OW/OB and joint alignment in children and adolescents were selected. Nonoriginal articles, participants with movement pattern diseases, and adolescents studied while pregnant were excluded. Two independent reviewers conducted the study selection and data extraction. Qualitative synthesis of evidence and random effect meta-analyses (risk ratio [RR]) were performed.
Results: Seventy-three studies (5 longitudinal and 68 cross-sectional) met the inclusion criteria involving 1,757,107 children and adolescents. There was consistent evidence supporting associations of OW/OB with rounded shoulder, lumbar hyperlordosis, genu valgum, and flatfoot. Our meta-analysis showed that children and adolescents with OW/OB had a significantly higher risk of lumbar hyperlordosis (RR = 1.41), genu valgum (RR = 5.92), flatfoot (RR = 1.49), and any joint malalignment (RR = 1.68) when compared with their peers of normal weight. The presence of genu valgum and flatfoot were the most robust results.
Conclusion: Based on these findings, OW/OB is associated with the presence of joint malalignments in children and adolescents.
Impact: This is the first study that has systematically reviewed the effect of OW/OB on the development of joint malalignments in children and adolescents.
Keywords: Childhood Obesity; Injury; Musculoskeletal Diseases; Pain; Pes Planus; Postural Malalignments.
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