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Overweight and obese children do not consult their general practitioner more often than normal weight children for musculoskeletal complaints during a 2-year follow-up
  1. Janneke van Leeuwen1,
  2. Marienke van Middelkoop1,
  3. Winifred D Paulis2,
  4. Herman J Bueving1,
  5. Patrick J E Bindels1,
  6. Bart W Koes1
  1. 1 Department of General Practice, Erasmus MC, University Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  2. 2 Department of Physical Therapy Studies, Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Janneke van Leeuwen, Department of General Practice, Erasmus MC, University Medical Center, Wytemaweg 80, P.O. Box 2040, Rotterdam, 3000 CA, The Netherlands; j.vanleeuwen.2{at}


Background 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.

Methods 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.

Results 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.

Conclusion 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.

  • obesity
  • musculo-skeletal

Statistics from


  • Contributors BWK, WDP and MvM conceived and designed the study, WDP collected data, JvL analysed and interpreted the data and wrote the manuscript.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval The Institutional Review Board of the Erasmus University Medical Center, Erasmus MC.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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