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Obese Children More Likely to Suffer Lower Body Injuries

by The Kid's Doctor Staff

A new study suggests that children who are obese appear to be more vulnerable to injury in the bones and muscles of the lower body than children who are lighter.

The study, conducted by researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, analyzed the weight and injuries of kids who visited a children’s hospital ER over a three-year period. Sprains, such as to the ankle or leg, were the most common lower body injuries.

“Because obese patients have an increased body mass and force, they are more likely to twist or roll on a lower extremity and cause injury than the non-obese children. Other injuries that the patients experienced were fractures and lacerations,” study lead author Dr. Wendy Pomerantz, an emergency physician at the hospital.

About one-sixth of the children visiting the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center ER for injuries between 2005 and 2008 were obese. Pomerantz noted that obesity is likely to also lengthen a child’s recovery time from an injury, as the added weight and stress to the body can cause more damage.

Exercise and diet, she said, remain the best ways to combat the growing obesity epidemic in the world. “Parents of an obese child who want the child to exercise but [are] afraid of the child getting injured should work with a specialist to get a tailored diet and exercise regimen to help them lose weight,” Pomerantz said.

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