Obesity Negatively Affects Outcome of Children in Critical Care

Childhood Obesity Tied to Worse Hospital Outcomes
Childhood Obesity Tied to Worse Hospital Outcomes

(HealthDay News) – Childhood obesity may be a risk factor for worse outcomes in hospitalized children with critical illness, oncologic diagnoses, or transplants, according to a review published online March 11 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Lori J. Bechard, RD, from Boston Children's Hospital, and colleagues reviewed the literature to identify 28 studies of hospitalized children aged 2–18 years with obesity and clinical outcomes, including all-cause mortality, incidence of infections, and/or length of hospital stay. Of the studies included, 26 were retrospective, 24 were cohort studies, and four were case-control studies.

The researchers found that, of the 21 studies that evaluated the outcome of mortality, 10 reported a significant positive relationship between obesity and mortality. Infection incidence was evaluated in eight studies with two reporting significantly more infections in obese children compared with non-obese patients. Five of the 11 studies examining length of stay reported significantly longer lengths of hospital stay for obese children. A high quality score using the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale was achieved in 15 studies (53%). 

Significant relationships between obesity and outcomes were seen in larger studies. There was also a relationship between obesity and mortality in studies of critically ill, oncologic or stem cell transplant, and solid organ transplant patients.

"Childhood obesity may be a risk factor for higher mortality in hospitalized children with critical illness, oncologic diagnoses, or transplants," the authors write.

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