(HealthDay News) — Adverse health behaviors in adolescence are only moderately associated with later musculoskeletal pain in adulthood, according to a study published in the June issue of Pain Medicine.

Antti Puroila, from the University of Oulu in Finland, and colleagues utilized data from a subset of participants (5,737) in the 1966 Northern Finland Birth Cohort to assess the relationship between health behaviors at age 14 years and pain at approximately age 31 years.

The researchers found that among males, adverse health behaviors in adolescence such as occasional smoking and overweight/obesity predicted pain in three or more body regions at the age of 31 years (odds ratios [ORs], 1.6 [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.0–2.6] and 1.7 [95% CI, 1.0–2.8], respectively). Among women, pain predictors included daily smoking (OR, 1.9; 95% CI, 1.0–3.5) and regular use of alcohol (OR, 2.2; 95% CI, 1.0–4.8). Risk factors for two pain sites among females included physical inactivity (OR, 1.6; 95% CI, 1.1–2.5) and moderate physical activity (OR, 1.7; 95% CI, 1.1–2.6). For daily smoking among males and overweight/obesity among females, the ORs for pain in at least three body regions were high, but the CIs were broad (ORs, 1.7 [95% CI, 0.8–3.5] and 1.4 [95% CI, 0.8–2.2], respectively).

“As adverse health behaviors in adolescence were moderately associated with multisite musculoskeletal pains in adulthood, the effectiveness of intervening in adverse health behaviors in adolescence as regards later musculoskeletal pain should be analyzed,” the authors write.

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