THURSDAY, March 14 (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, R.D., from Boston Children's Hospital, and colleagues reviewed the literature to identify 28 studies of hospitalized children aged 2 to 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 percent). 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.