Arthritis & Rheumatism, Volume 60,
October 2009 Abstract Supplement

The 2009 ACR/ARHP Annual Scientific Meeting
Philadelphia October 16-21, 2009.


A Low Physical Education Grade Predicts Middle Age Musculoskeletal Disease in Women but Not in Men

Timpka1,  Simon, Petersson1,  Ingemar F., Englund2,  Martin

Musculoskeletal Sciences, Dept of Orthopedics, Clinical Sciences, Lund University, Lund, Sweden
Lund University, Lund, Sweden

Purpose:

Musculoskeletal disorders are common in the general population and chronic pain is one of the most prevalent complaints, especially in women. Directed primary prevention is possible if high risk groups are identified at an early stage. One goal of Physical Education (PE) is to serve as the foundation for a future healthy lifestyle. However, very little is known about the association between PE grade and musculoskeletal disease later in life.

In this study, we focused on "Disorders of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue" (ICD-10 chapter XIII, code M) and the subgroup "Other soft tissue disorders, not elsewhere classified" (M79), which contains pain diagnoses such as Unspecified Rheumatism (M79.0) and Fibromyalgia (M79.7).

Method:

For a historical cohort study, we identified all the 2298 subjects (48.6% women), born in 1957–1962, who in 1974–1976 graduated from secondary school in a municipality in Southern Sweden. The PE grade and the subjects' 10-digit personal identification number were retrieved from municipal records. We ensured via the Population Register that subjects were still resident in the county in the period 2003–2007, and linked our data to the Skåne Health Care Register (SHCR), a regional register covering both in-and outpatient heath care of the population of the southernmost county of Sweden. Data on occupation and education were collected from Statistics Sweden. All clinic visits with a main diagnosis of our focus in 2003–2007 were identified. For the analysis, we used a logistic regression model adjusted for level of education and having an occupation associated with high prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders. An average PE grade was used as reference group.

Results:

530 individuals did not reside in the county during the whole study period while 56 did not receive a PE grade and were therefore excluded, 1712 (74.5%) remained eligible (48.8% women). In women, a low PE grade was associated with a higher Odds Ratio (OR) for both "Disorders of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue" and "Other soft tissue disorders, not elsewhere classified". In men, no association between PE grade and future disease was found.

Odds Ratio (OR) for Musculoskeletal Disorders in the Middle Age by Physical Education (PE) Grade Compared to an Average Grade Adjusted for Occupation and Education

  Disorders of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue (M)Other soft tissue disorders, not elsewhere classified (M79)
 PE Gradec/nOR95% CIc/nOR95% CI
WomenLow81/1861.49(1.01–2.19)34/1862.14(1.23–3.72)
 Average103/3331 27/3331 
 High107/3161.24(0.88–1.74)33/3161.47(0.86–2.53)
MenLow69/2520.76(0.52–1.11)17/2520.71(0.37–1.37)
 Average98/3211 25/3211 
 High83/3040.87(0.61–1.24)22/3040.95(0.52–1.74)
c/n= Number of cases/Total number of individuals with grade
Code of diagnosis according to WHO's ICD-

Conclusion:

In women, a low PE grade in adolescence predicts musculoskeletal pain disorders three decades later. No such association was found in men.

To cite this abstract, please use the following information:
Timpka, Simon, Petersson, Ingemar F., Englund, Martin; A Low Physical Education Grade Predicts Middle Age Musculoskeletal Disease in Women but Not in Men [abstract]. Arthritis Rheum 2009;60 Suppl 10 :1377
DOI: 10.1002/art.26451

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