Background: Overweight and obesity, physical inactivity, poor diet are primary risks of chronic disease. These behaviours have also been associated with increased risk of musculoskeletal conditions, such as low back pain and osteoarthritis. However, the provision of care to improve health risks in patient with musculoskeletal pain has not been studied.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey of 780 patients referred for specialist consultation for back, knee, hip, shoulder or neck pain was conducted to determine the prevalence of overweight and obesity, inactivity and poor diet and associated care. Patients were asked about the willingness and preference for participation in risk modification interventions to improve their health risks.
Results: A high proportion of patients (85%) were overweight or obese (mean BMI 33.9, SD7.3), none participated in recommended levels of activity (mean leisure time activity; 65 minutes per week) or consume adequate serves or fruits and vegetables. While 93% of patients reported interest in improving these health risks, only 30% received advice about how to address them; none believed they could action the advice. Only 20% of patients were referred to a service to facilitate health risk modification. Most patients (55%) preferred telephone interventions as a mode of support.
Conclusion: There is a need to improve the implementation of strategies to address the high prevalence of overweight, inactivity and poor diet in patients referred for specialist consultation for musculoskeletal pain.