Relationship Between Obesity and LBP is Overstated (and Unhelpful)

Here's one NOT to use, which shares several concerning features with other studies of this sort, so you can watch out for them

Smart Practice: This study overstates the relationship between obesity and back pain, so citing its top-line findings is likely to be misleading and alienating to patients — don’t fall for it.

What’s the Claim?

A secondary analysis of a large NIH-sponsored longitudinal study (the Osteoarthritis Initiative) claimed that among adults over the age of 45:

  • Back pain was present in nearly 60% of patients, and 70% of those who don’t have it will develop it over the next 8 years
  • Increases in body weight and BMI “increased the risk of presence, severity, and frequency of back pain” in women but not men

We’re not buying everything they’re selling here.

How’s It Stack Up?