Pediatric obesity is currently an epidemic, with the prevalence having quadruped over the last 25 years. Children diagnosed with obesity can be at risk for various long-term health issues and may be putting their musculoskeletal system at risk. According to new research in the February issue of the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery(JBJS), obese children who sustain a supracondylar humeral (above the elbow) fracture can be expected to have more complex fractures and experience more postoperative complications than children of a normal weight.
"These findings show that children diagnosed with obesity are more likely to sustain these complex fractures from something as simple as falling onto an outstretched hand while standing, and these types of falls are quite common," said author Michelle S. Caird, MD, assistant professor in the department of orthopaedic surgery at the University of Michigan. "Our research aims to remind parents that there are many serious risks to childhood obesity, including fractures and surgical complications. It's important to ensure that children get the proper amount of exercise and to build their bone banks early in life to a strong and healthy frame."
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Similar studies also have shown that overweight children who break their femur (thigh bone) are more likely to need bigger surgery and have more complications than children who are not overweight.
"Future research needs to focus on modifying obesity in kids to test if that changes fracture complexity and complication profiles," Caird added. "We also should focus on research to improve childhood bone health overall whether this is more calcium, vitamin D, exercise or a combination of such measures to help further build and maintain a skeleton that can structurally and metabolically support the person through their lifetime."
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