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Preventive measures to reduce lower back pain in men should begin in youth

Obesity or being overweight in early adulthood and throughout life increases the risk of radiating lower back pain among men, latest research suggests.

A study assessed the association between being overweight or obese and having low back pain or a clinically defined low back disorder throughout a person’s life.

The development of obesity increases the risk of low back pain for men

Picture credit: SPL

The health records of 1,385 men aged 30 to 50 were examined, with baseline data taken from prior compulsory military service records and follow-up from a nationwide health examination survey.

Height and weight were measured at baseline and follow-up, and waist circumference at follow-up. Weight at different ages was ascertained to calculate age-standardised mean body mass index (BMI) throughout life. The symptom-based outcome measures at follow-up included prevalence of non-specific and radiating low back pain in the previous 30 days. The clinically defined outcome measures included chronic low back syndrome and sciatica.

Baseline BMI at age 20 predicted the risk of radiating low back pain in adulthood, with the prevalence ratio of 1.26 for one standard deviation increase in BMI. The development of obesity throughout follow-up increased the risk of radiating low back pain, and general and abdominal obesity were associated with radiating low back pain.

The researchers say more preventive measures need to start during youth, in addition to prevention of further weight gain throughout life.

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