Arthur A. Stone and Joan E. Broderick at Stony Brook University in New York calculated respondents' body mass index based on questions regarding height and weight. The respondents -- who were interviewed by telephone by the Gallup Organization from 2008 to 2010 -- answered questions about pain, including if they "experienced pain yesterday."
The researchers found 63 percent of the 1,010,762 people who responded to the survey were classified as overweight (38 percent) or obese (25 percent).
The study, published in the online edition of Obesity, found in comparison to individuals with low to normal weight, the overweight group reported 20 percent higher rates of pain, and the higher the weight, the higher the levels of pain.
"Our findings confirm and extend earlier studies about the link between obesity and pain. These findings hold true after we accounted for several common pain conditions and across gender and age," Stone said in a statement.
Broderick and Stone also suggested there could be several plausible explanations for the close obesity/pain relationship including the possibility that having excess fat in the body triggers complex physiological processes that result in inflammation and pain; depression, which is also linked to pain; and medical conditions that cause pain, such as arthritis.