Childhood obesity associated with serious hip condition

USA, Oct 22: A recent research has shown that childhood obesity is the major risk factor for a serious condition that may lead to deformity of the hip.

Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis (SCFE) occurs amongst teenagers, affecting 1 in 2,000 children. The hip deforms, and sometimes completely collapses, causing pain and life-long disability. Early recognition and treatment of the disease is important to minimise the severity.

Nevertheless, SCFE is one of the most common reasons for a hip replacement in young adults, and sometimes even children. Surgeons have long believed obesity may be responsible, though there was no substantial proof until now.

The researchers showed that children obese at 5 years of age, had a 75 per cent likelihood of remaining obese when they were 12 years old. Most crucially, children with severe obesity at 5 years old had almost 20 times the subsequent risk of developing SCFE than a thin child. The greater the BMI of the child, higher is the risk of SCFE.

Daniel Perry, Children’s Orthopaedic Surgeon at Alder Hey Hospital and NIHR Clinician Scientist said: “Surgeons have long suspected that childhood obesity was the cause of this disease, and these results make it very clear. It is important that doctors who treat children are aware of SCFE, especially amongst children with obesity.

Identifying SCFE early means children typically only need relatively simple surgery; however, children identified later often require high-risk reconstructive surgery”.

“High rates of childhood obesity are of major national and international concern. SCFE has a profound effect on the quality of lives of adolescents. The link with obesity is striking – there are few other diseases in children that occur directly as a consequence of obesity, and this disease causes lifelong problems for the child”.

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