PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The problem of obesity has become a global concern, with increased prevalence reported in the literature. Numerous comorbid conditions are known to be associated with obesity; its relationship with the development and function of the musculoskeletal system in the growing child is poorly understood. This article reviews the current literature on the various musculoskeletal effects associated with obesity in children and adolescents. RECENT FINDINGS: The association between obesity and various musculoskeletal disorders such as slipped capital femoral epiphysis and Blount disease is well reported. Its effects on the structure and function of the musculoskeletal system have not been well documented. Recent studies suggest an increased association between obesity and musculoskeletal pain and increased fracture risk. The limitations imposed by increasing body mass appear to be directly reflected in the child's level of activity and overall functional capacity. SUMMARY: Obesity continues to pose a serious health concern. Its impact on the development of the child's musculoskeletal system is still poorly understood. Recent data suggests that obesity affects the child's locomotor system both functionally and structurally. As the obesity epidemic grows, newer studies will be needed to help us fully understand the true impact of obesity on the musculoskeletal system of the growing child.
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