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Weight loss interventions for adults with overweight/obesity and chronic musculoskeletal pain: a mixed methods systematic review.

Cooper, L.; Ryan, C.G.; Ells, L.J.; Hamilton, S.; Atkinson, G.; Cooper, K.; Johnson, M.I.; Kirwan, J.P.; Martin, D.


L. Cooper

C.G. Ryan

L.J. Ells

S. Hamilton

G. Atkinson

M.I. Johnson

J.P. Kirwan

D. Martin


Worldwide prevalence of adult overweight and obesity is a growing public health issue. Adults with overweight/obesity often have chronic musculoskeletal pain (CMP). Using a mixed-methods review, we aimed to quantify the effectiveness and explore the appropriateness of weight loss interventions for this population. Electronic databases were searched for studies published between 01/01/90 and 01/07/16. The review included 14 randomized controlled trials that reported weight and pain outcomes, and three qualitative studies that explored perceptions of adults with co-existing overweight/obesity and CMP. The random-effects pooled mean weight loss was 4.9kg (95%CI:2.9,6.8) greater for intervention vs control. The pooled mean reduction in pain was 7.3/100units (95%CI:4.1,10.5) greater for intervention vs control. Study heterogeneity was substantial for weight loss (I 2 =95%, tau= plus-minus 3.5kg) and pain change (I 2 =67%, tau= plus-minus 4.1%). Meta-regression slopes for the predictors of study quality, mean age and baseline mean weight on mean study weight reduction were shallow and not statistically significant (P > 0.05). The meta-regression slope between mean pain reduction and mean weight lost was shallow, and not statistically significant, ?0.09kg per unit pain score change (95%CI:?0.21,0.40, P=0.54). Meta-synthesis of qualitative findings resulted in two synthesized findings; the importance of healthcare professionals understanding the effects of pain on ability to control weight and developing management/education programmes that address co-morbidity.


COOPER, L., RYAN, C., ELLS, L.J., HAMILTON, S., ATKINSON, G., COOPER, K., JOHNSON, M.I., KIRWAN, J.P. and MARTIN, D. 2018. Weight loss interventions for adults with overweight/obesity and chronic musculoskeletal pain: a mixed methods systematic review. Obesity reviews [online], 19(7), pages 989-1007. Available from:

Journal Article Type Review
Acceptance Date Feb 14, 2018
Online Publication Date May 20, 2018
Publication Date Jun 7, 2018
Deposit Date Mar 5, 2018
Publicly Available Date May 21, 2019
Journal Obesity reviews
Print ISSN 1467-7881
Electronic ISSN 1467-789X
Publisher Wiley Open Access
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 19
Issue 7
Pages 989-1007
Keywords Adults; Chronic musculoskeletal pain; Overweight; Obesity; Weight loss; Obese
Public URL