New Study Finds Obesity Causes Regular Physical Pain

Most research around obesity focuses on the long-term health risks it presents. Greater likelihood of developing diabetes and heart disease are among the reasons medical researchers, clinicians and epidemiologists are concerned about reducing the prevalence of the condition throughout the country.

An often overlooked variable is the manner in which diabetes affects people on a daily basis. According to a new study by Gallup found that obesity causes people to suffer on a daily basis. The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index found that daily pain becomes increasingly more prevalent among people with higher body mass indexes.

[box type=”important”]Additional studies already concluded that pain and obesity were highly correlated. However, Gallup used a much larger sample size and used more control factors to isolate the association between obesity and chronic pain.[/box]

Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index polled more than 1 million people from around the country. Among the respondents, 38% were considered overweight while another 25% were classified as obese. Those who were classified as obese were placed into one of three weight classes by the World Health Organization.

Their findings concluded that daily pain was experienced by:

  • 44.1% of citizens with a body mass index greater than 40.
  • 34.7% of citizens with a body mass index of 35 to 40.
  • 27.7% of citizens with a body mass index of 31 to 35.
In addition, women and senior citizens were more likely to suffer from physical pain. The correlation between daily suffering and pain becomes increasingly greater for women at higher body mass indexes as well. The Gallup post didn’t provide an explanation for this data.

Relationship Between Age and Pain

The data linking pain and age were not surprising. As people age, they tend to face increased likelihood of developing rheumatoid problems and arthritis, regardless of their weight. However, obesity tends to dramatically increase the likelihood that people will develop those problems. Older citizens at healthy weights were only slightly more likely to experience chronic pain than their overweight peers.

Only 18.9% of people with an average or below-average body mass index experience regular pain. Additionally, the study found that the pain was not always the result of other conditions such as diabetes or heart irregularities caused by obesity. After factoring out these conditions, they found that there was still a correlation between obesity and daily pain.

[box type=”note”]In addition to increasing the risk of developing debilitating diseases, obesity causes inflammation and arthritis. This could explain a significant amount of the pain that obese people are forced to endure on a regular basis.[/box]

Kalen Smith

Kalen Smith is a professional Internet marketer, consumer researcher and writer. He has been a writer for Weight Loss Triumph and is the cofounder of the blog Great Paleo Diet Cookbooks, where he writes about the paleo diet and lifestyle.

One thought on “New Study Finds Obesity Causes Regular Physical Pain

  • February 27, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    When I was 250 pounds I was developing diabetes, I had high blood pressure and high cholesterol. I was also in pain all the time. My back hurt. My legs hurt, my feet hurt A LOT–they’d swell after being on my feet for a few hours. My hips were killing me. It hurt being obese. I lost 110 pounds and the pains I was having went away.


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