Objective: Although the obesity epidemic is progressing in European children too, there is no consensus on the population-specific prevalence of comorbidities or efficient diagnostic strategies. Therefore, weight-related risk factors, their interrelationship, and association with biological parameters were assessed in a large group of overweight (OW) children, documented by an electronic database.
Methods and procedures: Data of 26,008 children (age 12.6+/-2.9 years, 56% females) presented for OW (BMI >90th percentile) or obesity (>97th percentile) in 98 specialized centers were evaluated using a simple software (Adipositas Patienten Verlaufsbeobachtung (APV)) for standardized longitudinal documentation. After local anonymization, data were transmitted for central analysis including multiple logistic regression.
Results: A total of 5.9% of the children were normal weight, 41% obese (OB), and 37% extremely OB (>99.5th percentile, XXL; 41% of the girls). In 50%, at least one risk factor and in 11% a cluster of two were found, comprising increased blood pressure (BP): 35.4%, dyslipidemia: 32% (total cholesterol: 14.1%, low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol: 15.8%, high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol: 11.1%, triglycerides: 14.3%), impaired glucose tolerance (IGtT): 6.5% and suspicion of diabetes: 0.7%. The degree of OW was inversely associated with HDL-cholesterol and directly with clustered risk factors, impaired glucose metabolism, increased BP and triglycerides (odds ratios (ORs) XXL vs. normal=6.15, >10, 4.3, 3.0 and 2.5, respectively), but not with LDL-cholesterol.
Discussion: In a very large cohort of young Europeans risk factors for cardiovascular (CV) diseases are frequently found, related to the degree of OW and tend to cluster, thus a comprehensive screening is justified in all OW or OB children. Electronic patient documentation is feasible in a large obesity care network.