Physical Fitness, Physical Activity, and Self-Reported Back and Neck Pain in Elementary Schoolchildren

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Greet Cardon
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Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij
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Dirk De Clercq
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Renaat Philippaerts
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Stefanie Verstraete
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Elisatbeth Geldhof
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The present study investigates whether physical fitness, physical activity, and determinants of physical activity are associated with reports of back and neck pain in children. A total of 749 children (mean age: 9.7 years ± 0.7) were evaluated, using a standardized physical fitness test (Eurofit), a physical activity questionnaire, and a pain prevalence questionnaire. Results indicate that physical fitness levels are not associated with back pain reports, but pain reports are lower in girls reporting higher frequencies of moderate physical activity and better estimates for attitude toward physical activity. Therefore, in girls, increased levels of physical activity might contribute to better back health.

The authors are with the Dept. of Movement and Sports Sciences, Ghent University, Watersportlaan 2, 9000 Ghent, Belgium.

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