Nathaniel S. Nye, MD, a sports medicine fellow at the National Capital Consortium Sports Medicine Fellowship in Bethesda, Maryland, presented, "Does Abdominal Circumference (AC) or Body Mass Index (BMI) Better Predict Lower Extremity Injury Risk?" last week at the 23rd Annual Meeting of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine at the Hyatt Regency in New Orleans, LA.
Dr. Nye performed a retrospective review of electronic medical records of 79,868 United States Air Force personnel, stratified by BMI (normal, overweight and obese) and AC (low-, medium- and high-risk). He then analyzed data over a seven-year period to identify incidence of new lower-extremity overuse injury including stress fractures, soft tissue injuries, joint injuries and osteoarthritis (OA). Cox proportional hazards regression was used to calculate risk of injury in obese and high-risk AC individuals. Calculations showed a significant risk association between elevated BMI and AC related to all injury types. In other words, those who were classified as obese were at a greater risk for developing lower extremity injuries. Using BMI and AC in a combined approach predicted injury risk better than either measure alone.
Obesity and musculoskeletal injuries are huge health problems in America, including the military. In the civilian setting these injuries are certainly very costly. But in the military, injuries can also slow down or halt the valiant men and women who defend our country. Our ultimate goal is to be able to prevent injuries by better understanding how obesity affects the risk for getting injured.
Thanks to organized, electronic documentation, we currently have a wealth of military health and fitness data at our fingertips," said Dr. Nye. "We plan to use this data to learn more about other injury types such as back injuries, as well as whether sit-up and push-up counts (measures of core strength) relate to injury risk. Ultimately, it may be possible to quantify each individual's risk for injury and prioritize preventive measures for each airman, soldier, sailor, or athlete."
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