- Poor balance. Obese children may display poorer balance, fall more often or more clumsily, or show differences in bone quality or bone mineralization in comparison with children of healthy weight (Davidson, 2003). Obese schoolchildren were significantly more prone to dental trauma than non-obese children (Glendor, 2009). The incidence of fall-related injuries is likely to increase as a result of the rise in obesity rates, as are increases in sprains/strains, lower extremity fractures and joint dislocations from falls and other causes. A study indicates that the odds of sustaining an injury requiring medical attention are greater among those with excess weight, even after controlling for differential levels of physical activity (Finkelstein, 2007).
- Body composition. Since there is a positive correlation between bone density and bone strength, it is possible that obese children fracture their forearms more readily than children of healthy bodyweight because they have relatively weaker arms (Davidson, 2003).
Strategies to address these considerations
- Increase physical activity. An increase in safe physical activity would help overweight children lose weight and increase balance skills. This strategy might also be applied to overweight adults (Glendor, 2009). See Physical Activity Populations – Children for more information.
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