The prevalence of both obesity and disability is increasing globally and there is now growing evidence to suggest that these two health priorities may be linked. This paper explores the evidence linking obesity to muscular-skeletal conditions, mental health disorders and learning disabilities in both adult and child populations. The impact of obesity on the four most prevalent disabling conditions in the UK (arthritis, mental health disorders, learning disabilities and back ailments) has been examined through novel data analysis of the 2001 Health Survey for England and UK Back Exercise And Manipulation trial data. Together these analyses strongly suggest that whether the cause or result of disability, obesity is undeniably implicated, thus presenting a serious public health priority. Future research efforts are required to strengthen the evidence base examining obesity in back disorders, mental health and learning disabilities, in order to improve current clinical management
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