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Lumbar disc degeneration more likely in overweight and obese adults
Date:1/30/2012

One of the largest studies to investigate lumbar spine disc degeneration found that adults who are overweight or obese were significantly more likely to have disc degeneration than those with a normal body mass index (BMI). Assessments using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) show elevated BMI is associated with an increased number of levels of degenerated disks and greater severity of disc degeneration, including narrowing of the disc space. Details of this study now appear in Arthritis & Rheumatism, a journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR).

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that obesityone of the most preventable risk factors for a number of diseaseshas more than doubled since 1980. According to WHO, in 2008 roughly 1.5 billion people aged 20 and older were overweight, with more than 200 million men and close to 300 million women considered obese. In the U.S., studies estimate one in three children is overweight or obese and excess weight could lead to more severe obesity in adulthood.

Moreover, previous research has linked higher BMI to low back pain, which is often debilitating and can limit function, impact psychological well being, diminish overall quality of life, and is associated with substantial socioeconomic and health-care costs. Experts suggest that disc degeneration is one cause of low back pain, and therefore, BMI could be involved in the development of degenerative disc disease. To expand the knowledge of this important health concern, a team of researchers led by Drs. Dino Samartzis and Kenneth M.C. Cheung at the University of Hong Kong in Hong Kong investigated the association between elevated BMI and presence, extent, and severity of lumbar spine disc degeneration on MRI in adults.

The team recruited 2,599 participants aged 21 and older from Southern China between 2001 and 2009. Participants were from diverse social and economic backgrounds and
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Contact: Dawn Peters
healthnews@wiley.com
781-388-8408
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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