(HealthDay News) – Overweight and obese children are at higher risk of developing idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH), particularly non-Hispanic white adolescent girls.

Sonu M. Brara, MD, from the Los Angeles Medical Center, and colleagues analyzed the medical records of 913,178 children from the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Children’s Health Study to examine the association between obesity and IIH. Children were assigned to a weight category based on age- and gender-specific body mass index.

The researchers identified 78 cases of pediatric IIH, where 84.5% were female, 84.5% were 11–19 years old, 47.4% were non-Hispanic white, and 73.1% were overweight or obese. The adjusted odds ratio of developing IIH increased significantly with weight, ranging from 3.56 for the overweight to 16.14 for the extremely obese, compared with underweight or normal-weight children aged 11–19 years. Other independent risk factors included white non-Hispanic race for all age groups and female gender for older children.

“Our findings may help improve the early diagnosis and treatment of IIH in young patients,” Brara said in a statement. “Overweight and obese children appear to have more IIH symptoms at onset than normal-weight children. We suggest that clinicians carefully screen adolescents who are overweight or obese and present with symptoms of IIH, such as headache, blurred vision, and eye movement abnormalities.”

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