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Exercise, Weight Control May Keep Fibromyalgia at Bay
Date:4/29/2010

Study finds link between excess weight and the pain disorder, especially among inactive women

THURSDAY, April 29 (HealthDay News) -- Women who are overweight or obese appear to have an increased risk of developing the chronic pain syndrome known as fibromyalgia, a new study suggests.

If they are also sedentary, the risk is even greater, said lead researcher Paul Mork of Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, Norway.

The study is published in the May issue of Arthritis Care & Research.

Fibromyalgia is marked by widespread pain lasting more than three months. The pain strikes so-called "tender points" in the neck, shoulders, back, hips, arms and legs.

The condition is also marked by fatigue without apparent cause, mood disturbances, sleep problems and headaches. More women than men have it, and experts don't thoroughly understand its cause.

The condition may be due to dysfunction in the nervous system and other problems, and it is thought to be affected by genetic susceptibility.

In the new study, Mork and his colleagues turned to a data base of nearly 16,000 women in Norway who had responded to health surveys. Among the participants were 380 who developed fibromyalgia during the 11-year follow-up.

Mork's team compared the data from patients with the healthy respondents, including body mass index (BMI) and exercise habits.

Exercise and a healthy body weight were found to be protective.

''Women who reported exercising four times per week [or more] had a 29 percent lower risk of fibromyalgia compared with inactive women," Mork said in a news release about the study.

Those who exercised two to three times a week were about 11 percent less likely to get fibromyalgia.

Being overweight -- with a BMI of 25 or higher -- was a strong independent risk factor, with the heavier women having a 60 percent to 70 percent
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