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Low back pain in Mozambican adolescents

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Recent literature shows that the prevalence of low back pain (LBP) in adolescents living in Western countries approaches that of adults 18–55 years of age. Moreover, epidemiological studies have also shown that the frequency of different rheumatic disorders in developing countries is similar to that found in Western industrialized regions. The purpose of this study was to ascertain the prevalence of LBP and to explore some risk factors among adolescents living in different zones of Mozambique. A previously validated questionnaire was distributed to schoolchildren of grades 6 and 7 living in three different residential/social regions of the country. Two hundred four (204) children participated in the survey. Median age was 13 years (age range 11–16 years) and 46% were boys. Several episodes of LBP interfering with usual activities during the previous year were reported by 13.5% of the sample. Living in the wealthier urban center (as compared with the peripheral regions) and walking >30 min per day to and from school were associated with an increased risk of LBP (OR 3.1, 95% CI 0.99–9.48, and OR 4.8, 95% CI 1.61–14.28, respectively).

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Correspondence to F. Balagué.

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Prista, A., Balagué, F., Nordin, M. et al. Low back pain in Mozambican adolescents. Eur Spine J 13, 341–345 (2004).

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