European Spine Journal

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 373–379 | Cite as

Physical activity and low-back pain in schoolchildren

Original Article


Design of the experiment is to study the cross-sectional sample with retrospective information. The objective is to identify the types of physical activity associated with the decreased occurrence of low-back pain (LBP) in schoolchildren. Physical activity may be hypothesized to possess a potential for LBP prevention. The possible connection between LBP and specific sports activities is however sparsely documented. A total of 546, 15- to 16-year-old schoolchildren filled a questionnaire on current physical activities and LBP occurrence and severity. In multiple logistic regressions, the association of LBP with exposure variables was corrected for body height and weight (data from school health service files) and for anthropometric and school furniture parameters. More than half of the children reported pain or discomfort in the low-back region during the preceding 3 months, and 1/4 experienced a decreased functioning or need of care because of LBP. LBP correlated with physical inactivity, e.g. time spent on homework and hours watching TV or video, and with a series of sports activities, e.g. jogging, handball playing and gymnastics. Among sports activities, only swimming and the number of hours per week participating in soccer were associated with a decreased LBP prevalence. With the exception of swimming and soccer, the types of sport reported by this schoolchild population do not offer themselves for consideration as tools for LBP prevention. Based on the associations found with indicators of physical inactivity, attempts to motivate the children to increase their general physical activity level should be considered for trial.


Adolescents Low-back pain Physical activity Prevention Health promotion 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Public HealthUniversity of AarhusAarhus CDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Health Services Research, Institute of Public HealthUniversity of AarhusAarhus CDenmark

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