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J Paediatr Child Health. 2003 Dec;39(9):657-64.

Biomechanical analysis of arm fracture in obese boys.

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Injury Prevention Research Unit, Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.



To determine the role of the biomechanical factors of force of impact, bone strength, fall height and surface stiffness on the risk of forearm fracture in obese children compared to non-obese children.


Anthropometric and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry bone density data from 50 boys (25 obese pair-matched with 25 non-obese subjects) aged 4-17 years were entered into a rheological-stochastic simulation model of arm impact.


Obese children were shown to be at 1.7 times greater risk of fracture compared to non-obese children. Lower fall heights and softer impact surfaces were found not to reduce the relative risk of fracture between obese and non-obese children.


Environmental modifications are unlikely to lower the risk of arm fracture in obese children to the same levels experienced by non-obese children. The best option available for obese children to reduce fracture risk is to take steps to attain a healthy bodyweight.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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