Another Reason to Lose Weight

Steven Reinberg of the HealthDay News reports that a new study may show a link between obesity and sensitivity to pain. One third of the individuals observed are obese and exhibited a lower tolerance for pain. This finding didn't surprise many researchers:

"For subjective indicators of pain, obese people indicated similar levels of pain to non-obese people," said study author Charles Emery, a professor of psychology at Ohio State University. "But when we looked at objective indicators, we found that the obese group had a lower threshold for pain."


Emery believes that obese people may have more experience with pain because of their weight. "They may be used to some degree of pain," he said.

But obese people appear to experience greater pain than non-obese people, Emery added. "It is important to look at both objective indicators of pain, as well as subjective indicators," he said. "We need to keep in mind that the subjective rating may not be reflective of physiological processes that are going on."

One expert found the study results compatible with what is known about how people experience pain.

"These results do not surprise me at all," said Dr. Doris K. Cope, director of the Pain Medicine Division at the University of Pittsburgh.

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kristina - March 6, 2006 12:43 PM

I get annoyed when correlations are discovered and then "sold" (suggested) as a cause and effect scenario.

My guess is these people are obese BECAUSE they are sensitive to physical AND emotional pain, not the other way around.

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