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Overweight, Obese Preschoolers Have Higher Risk for Fractures

Findings seen for both upper- and lower-limb fractures, compared with normal-weight preschoolers

TUESDAY, April 14, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Preschool children with a body mass index (BMI) in the overweight or obese range have an increased incidence of bone fractures in childhood compared with preschool children of normal weight, according to a study published online April 7 in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.

Jennifer C.E. Lane, from University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, and colleagues evaluated the association between having an overweight- or obese-range BMI when beginning school and fracture incidence in childhood. The Information System for Research in Primary Care platform in Catalonia, Spain, was used to identify 466,997 children (48.6 percent female) with a validated weight and height measurement from routine health care screening at age 4 years (between 2006 and 2013) with a median follow-up of 4.9 years.

The researchers found that the cumulative incidence of any fracture during childhood was 9.2 percent for underweight, 10.06 percent for normal-weight, 11.28 percent for overweight, and 13.05 percent for obese children. Having an overweight- and obese-range BMI was associated with a higher risk for lower-limb fracture (adjusted hazard ratios, 1.42 and 1.74, respectively) and upper-limb fracture (adjusted hazard ratios, 1.10 and 1.19, respectively) compared with children of normal-range weight.

“This work suggests that interventions to treat obesity in early childhood could have benefits for the primary or secondary prevention of fractures later in childhood, especially in the prevention of fractures within the forearm and hand or foot and ankle,” the authors write.

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