The risk of falls and injuries increases with weight gain. A fear of injury while exercising may be a barrier to exercising particularly in the obese. There is no evidence to date exploring the association between the perception of injury, weight, exercise patterns, and muscle strength in an obese population. Therefore the aim of this study is to determine the perception of injury in an obese cohort and identify if perception is related to anthropometric measurements, reported exercise, measured strength and anxiety scores.
Data was collected during ten, 8 week weight loss group programmes between July 2013 and July 2015. Demographic, anthropometric, injury, physical activity (Modified Beacke), strength (sit to stand) and anxiety (Beck Anxiety) data were collected.
228 people (69% females) completed the injury questionnaire. Average age: 49 yrs, (range 17-78 yrs), BMI 47.2 kg/m2 (range 30.7 – 91.9 kg/m2) and waist circumference 128.5 cm (range 93.5- 193.5cm). 84% and 75% of participants were concerned with having an injury or falling respectively with 30% concerned “a lot” or “extremely”. 59% of participants thought their weight contributed to the likelihood of being injured, 35% reported that the fear of injury prevented them from exercising, 41% said they had sustained an injury while exercising previously and 36% of participants thought an injury contributed to their current weight. Increasing weight, BMI and waist were not related to fear of injury, however, increased age and BMI were related to fear of falling (p <0.05). A poorer “sit to stand” result and increased anxiety scores were related to a fear of falling only. Beacke’s measure of total exercise was not correlated to either a fear of falling or an injury.
Fears of injury and falling are extremely prevalent in an obese cohort. These fears need to be taken into consideration when treating obesity.