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Obesity Increases Kids' Risk of Spinal Problems: Study

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Along with an increased risk for high cholesterol and diabetes, overweight and obese children also may be more prone to spinal problems and back pain, according to U.S. researchers.

They examined MRIs of 188 young people, ages 12 to 20, who had back pain and found that 56 percent of them had some lumbar spine abnormalities, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The researchers then calculated the age-adjusted BMI (body-mass index) for 106 of the study participants and found that 54 had a BMI greater than the 75th percentile for their age. Of those, 37 (68.5 percent) had abnormal findings on their spinal MRIs. All the children at or below a healthy weight had normal MRI results.

The study was presented this week at the annual meeting of the American Radiological Society.

"These results demonstrate a strong relationship between increased BMI in the pediatric population and the incidence of lumbar disc disease," study lead author Dr. Judah Burns, a fellow in neuroradiology at the Children's Hospital at Montefiore in New York City, said in a news release, the Times reported.

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