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Table 1 Selected characteristics of the cross-sectional articles included in the review (n = 22)a

From: The association between body fat and musculoskeletal pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Study / country / reference Sample size, n Age, y BMI, kg/m2 Body composition assessment Parameter investigated Body composition (Case, control) Effect size (CI)
Cohen’s d
OR (CI) Included in the meta-analyses
Widespread pain (≥ 5 sites)
 Pan, Australia [35] d 336 widespread pain, 137no pain Baseline 63.3 (7.7) widespread pain, 62.2 (7.2) no pain Baseline 28.8 (5.3) widespread pain, 26.2 (3.9) no pain DXA Total fat mass 30.0 (9.5) kg, 25.0 (7.1) kg 0.56 (0.36–0.76) N/A Yes
 Yoo, Republic of Korea [36] 229 widespread pain, 618 no pain 60.8 (8.6) 24.3 (3.2) DXA   19.1 (6.1) kg, 15.9 (7.5) kg 0.45 (0.29–0.60) N/A Yes
Multi-site pain (3 sites)
 Brady, Australia [18] 133 (104 women), 42 multi-site pain 27 no pain 47.9 (45.0, 50.7)c multi-site pain
46.3 (42.8, 50.0) no pain
36.6 (34.1, 39.2)c multi-site pain
28.4 (25.2, 31.6) no pain
DXA FMI 16.2 (14.5–17.9) kg/m2 multi-site pain, 11.0 (8.8–13.1) kg/m2 no pain N/A N/A No
Temporomandibular joint pain
 Jordani, Brazil [44] 299 (229 women), 159 pain, 70 no pain 37.7 (12.2) pain
35.9 (13.6) no pain
Not stated BIA Body fat percentage N/A N/A 1.58 (0.72–3.48) No
Neck pain
 Yalcinkaya, Turkey [45] 160 (80 women), 40 case, 40 control 44.6 (10.2) case
40.8 (8.0) control
28.4 (4.3) case
28.3 (3.9) control
BIA Body fat percentage Case
Women: 46.6 (9.6) %
Men: 37.6 (6.0) %
Control
Women: 46.0 (9.8) %
Men: 34.2 (6.0) %
Women
0.06 (− 0.38–0.50)
Men
0.57 (0.11–1.01)
N/A No
Neck and shoulder pain
 Iizuka, Japan [37]e 273 (179 women) 64.3 (13.2) 23.4 (2.9) BIA Body fat percentage N/A N/A 0.98 (0.94–1.03) No
Low-back pain  
 Hodselmans, Netherlands [51] 101 (47 women) 39.2 (9.6) Not stated Skin fold Body fat percentage 30.4 (8.2) %, 26.4 (6.1) % 0.55 (0.27–0.83) N/A Yes
 Spyropoulos, Greece [52] 60 (all women), 30 case,
30 control
41.7 (7.3) case
42.2 (7.3) control
27.1 (3.4) case
25.3 (3.1) control
Skin fold 34.7 (5.1) %, 31.3 (5.2) % 0.66 (0.13–1.17) N/A Yes
 Iizuka, Japan [37]e 273 (179 women) 64.3 (13.2) 23.4 (2.9) BIA N/A N/A 0.97 (0.93–1.02) Yes
 Dario, Spain [47] 687 (all women), 313 pain, 374 no pain 53.6 (7.4) pain
52.2 (7.4) no pain
27.7 (5.2) pain
26.8 (4.6) no pain
BIA Body fat percentage N/A N/A 1.15 (1.01–1.32) Yes
 Toda, Japan [48] 330 (206 women), 203 case
127 control
Men: 55.6 (8.8) case, 57.7 (9.8) control
Women: 60.0 (9.2) case, 57.6 (8.1) control
Men: 23.9 (2.4) case, 23.9 (3.1) control
Women:22.7 (3.4) case, 22.7 (3.3) control
BIA Women 29.7 (6.8) %, 27.9 (6.7) %
Men 23.8 (5.2) %, 22.3 (6.1) %
Women 0.27 (−0.01–0.54)
Men 0.27 (− 0.10–0.64)
N/A
N/A
Yes
 Sakai, Japan [43] 660 (311 women), 100 case, 560 control 74.4 (6.0) case, 73.2 (7.6) control 23.6 (3.2) case, 24.2 (3.5) control DXA Women: 41.1 (4.1) %, 34.3 (8.8) %
Men: 35.8 (6.7) %, 27.7 (7.6) %
Women: 0.83 (0.09–1.54)
Men: 1.08 (0.76–1.40)
N/A
N/A
Yes
 Celan, Slovenia [46] 112 (all men), 76 pain 36 no pain 44.2 (5.6), range 31–56 27.7 pain, 27.9 no pain BIA Case
26.4%
Control
25.5%
N/A N/A No
 Urquhart, Australia [20] 135 (113 women), 29 high pain, 106 no or low pain 47.4 (9.0) range 25–62 32.6 (8.7), range 18–55 DXA Total fat mass N/A N/A Pain intensity
1.19 (1.04–1.38)
Disability
1.41 (1.20–1.67)
No
 Chou, Australia [38] 820 (all men), 124 high pain, 696 no or low pain 62.9 (14.0) high pain
58.1 (17.1) no or low pain
28.6 (4.5) high pain
27.2 (4.1) no or low pain
DXA Total fat mass High pain disability / intensity 25.9 (7.9) kg
No or low disability / intensity 23.0 (8.6) kg
0.34 (0.15–0.53) N/A No
Knee pain
 Ozer Kaya, Turkey [49] 149 (all women), 52 cases, 97 controls 42.6 (4.1) case
41.7 (4.2) control
30.5 (5.3) case
29.4 (4.6) control
BIA Body fat percentage 39.3 (7.9) %, 38.1 (7.7) % 0.15 (−0.19–0.49) N/A Yes
 Scott, Australia [39] 709 (357 women), 311 pain, 398 no pain Men: 62.0 (7.2) pain, 63 (7.3) no pain
Women: 61.7 (7.5) pain, 62.0 (7.0) no pain
Men: 28.2 (3.8) pain
27.0 (3.5) no pain
Women: 28.2 (5.6) pain, 27.0 (4.4) no pain
DXA Women 40.1 (5.5%, 39.0 (5.0) %
Men 28.0 (5.2) %, 27.2 (4.4) %
Women 0.21 (0.00–0.42)
Men 0.17 (− 0.04–0.38)
N/A
N/A
Yes
 Sutbeyaz, Turkey [53] 56 (32 women), 28 cases
28 control
44.0 (10.2) case
43.7 (10.0) control
33.3 (3.7) case
34.8 (3.5) control
Skin fold Total fat mass Case
29.4 (7.2) kg
Control
33.6 (7.5) kg
−0.57 (−1.10- -0.03) No No
Shin pain
 Sabeti, Iran [50] 35 (gender not stated), 17 cases
18 control
21.1 (2.3) case
20.7 (2.5) control
21.7 (2.7) case
20.7 (2.2) control
BIA Body fat percentage Case
27.8 (7.2) %
Control
23.4 (5.8) %
0.68 (−0.02–1.34) N/A No
Foot pain
 Walsh, Australia [41] 88 (all women), 44 cases, 44 control 56.6 (10.3) case
56.7 (6.5) control
29.3 (9.9) case
27.6 (10.5) control
DXA   12.5 (5.1) kg/m2, 12.0 (4.9) kg/m2 0.10 (−0.32–0.52) N/A Yes
 Walsh, Australia [16] 1066 64.6 (10.3) 28.4 (5.1) DXA   N/A N/A 1.08 (1.04–1.12) Yes
 Tanamas, Australia [40] 136 (114 women), 75 pain, 61 no pain 47.5 (9.2) pain
47.7 (8.8) no pain
35.1 (7.8) pain
28.4 (7.6) no pain
DXA FMI N/A N/A 1.16 (1.06–1.28) Yes
 Butterworth, Australia [42] 796 (all men), 177 pain, 619 no pain 68 (24–90)b pain
57 (25–98)b no pain
28.0 (4.3) pain
27.1 (3.8) no pain
DXA N/A N/A 1.08 (1.01–1.15) Yes
  1. OR odds ratio, CI confidence interval, BMI body mass index, kg kilogram, m2 metres squared, DXA Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, FMI fat mass index, BIA bioelectrical impedance analysis, N/A not applicable
  2. aValues are mean (SD) unless otherwise stated
  3. bmedian (range)
  4. cmean (95% CI)
  5. dcross-sectional and longitudinal study
  6. eDuplicate study