EFFECTS OF BMI STATUS ON THE OCCURENCE AND RECOVERY FROM INJURIES IN YOUTH
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Background: Injury and obesity are two of the leading public health problems in youth around the world. To reduce the burden of obesity, efforts are underway to increase physical activity participation; however, physical activity is also the leading cause of injury in youth. Recovery from injury is also important as long periods away from regular activity can have major effects on the health of youth. Objectives: This thesis is in manuscript format. The objective of the first manuscript was to determine whether relationships between physical activity and physical activity injuries are modified by BMI status in Canadian youth. The objective of the second manuscript was to examine the effect of BMI status on the time to recovery within youth who have suffered an injury. Methods: Data were obtained from the 2006 and 2002 Canadian Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children (HBSC) surveys. The 2006 Canadian HBSC was a nationally representative survey of 9672 youth in grades 6 through 10 from across Canada. The 2002 Canadian HBSC was an analogous survey of 7235 youth, of which approximately 50% experienced a medically treated injury. Analyses were driven by theory, and considered relationships among the major variables. Results: In manuscript 1, cross-sectional analyses indicated that those who reported high levels of physical activity experienced greater risks for physical activity injury in comparison to those with low levels of activity. BMI status was not identified as an effect modifier in any analyses. In manuscript 2, recovery for youth who were obese and suffered a combined injury (broken bone and strain/sprain) were longer than recovery times for normal weight youth. Times to recovery for obese youth were not significantly elevated for broken bones and sprain/strains. Conclusions: Physical activity participation relates to injury experiences in a consistent manner across BMI groups. Special safety precautions are not justified for obese youth in physical activity programs. BMI status was found to influence times for injury recovery. These are important clinical results that demonstrate that obesity may have a role in the osteoarticular health of youth and should be considered as a factor in treatment plans.