Overweight & obese children do not consult their GP more often than normal weight children for MSK complaints over 2yrs

Childhood obesity is associated with self-reported musculoskeletal complaints, injuries and fractures. In the current study, we investigated the association between weight status of children and the frequency and type of musculoskeletal consultations at the general practitioner (GP) during a 2-year follow-up.

Data from a prospective longitudinal cohort study including children aged 2-18 years presenting in general practices in the Netherlands were used. Height and weight were measured at baseline, at 6-month, 1-year and 2-year follow-ups. Electronic medical files were used to collect information on the frequency and type of consultations at the GP during the 2-year follow-up period. Associations between weight status and frequency and type of GP consultations were calculated.

Of the 617 included children, 111 (18%) were overweight or obese and 506 (82%) were non-overweight. Overweight children were significantly older (mean age in years (SD): 9.8 (3.6)vs7.8 (4.0), p=0.004). Overweight children consulted the GP in general significantly more frequent during the 2-year follow-up than non-overweight children (mean (SD): 7.3 (5.7)vs6.7 (5.4), OR 1.09, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.18). No significant difference was seen in the number of overweight and non-overweight children consulting their GP for musculoskeletal complaints (OR 1.20 (0.86 to 1.68)). Additionally, no significant difference between overweight and non-overweight children was seen for the number of consultations for further specified musculoskeletal disorders. No association was seen between childhood weight status and the frequency and type of musculoskeletal consultations at the GP during a 2-year follow-up.