Children and adolescents who are overweight are more likely than their normal weight counterparts to suffer bone fractures and have joint and muscle pains, according to a study conducted at the National Institute of Health.
Participants were classified as overweight if they had a body mass index above the 95th percentile for their height and weight.
Shockingly, the researchers found that the overweight youth in the study were more likely than non-overweight youth to develop knee pain.
Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., Director of the National Institute of Health says, “bone and joint problems are particularly troubling in this age group,” “If overweight youth fail to attain normal weight, they will likely experience an even greater incidence of these problems when they reach later life.”
The study had its participants fill out a questionnaire measuring the level of difficulty required in doing common activities. The most common self-reported joint complaint was knee pain, with 21.4% of overweight youth reporting knee pain and 16.7% of non-overweight youth reporting joint pain and knee pain.
Frighteningly scans showed that overweight youth were more likely to experience changes in how the bones of the thigh and leg meet at their knees, as well.
Despite the studies to this effect, the theory is simple: An overweight child is likely to fall with greater force than a non-overweight child, and is more likely to suffer a fracture. It is also important to note that overweight boys have poorer balance than non-overweight boys, and are more likely to fall anyways.
Overweight children and adolescents are encouraged to engage in alternative modes of physical activity, such as bicycle riding or swimming. This could alleviate the severity of lower extremity joint loading (knee pain) and discomfort later in life.
If you want to prevent obesity in your child, try these tips.
Make their favorite dishes healthier.
The recipes that you may prepare regularly, and that your family enjoys, with just a few changes can be healthier and just as satisfying.
Keep your kids active.
Children and teens should participate in at least 60 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity most days of the week, preferably daily.
Encourage healthy eating habits.
There’s no great secret to healthy eating. Remember that small changes every day can lead to a recipe for success!
Reduce their down time.
Help children avoid too much down time. Although quiet time for homework is fine, limit the time your children watch television or surf the web to a maximum of two hours a day.