Background: The Irish childhood obesity epidemic, one of the highest ranking internationally, represents a major threat to public health. We sought to perform a retrospective observational study of a clinic based cohort of obese Irish children.
Methods: Clinical data relating to gender, age, height, weight, body mass index and blood pressure were analysed, from 206 children referred to a paediatric endocrine referral centre over a 15-year period for assessment of obesity.
Results: Younger patients tended to have a higher standardised body mass index at initial presentation; 92% of boys and 96% of girls referred were obese (age-related BMI >/= 95th percentile). Boys (51%) and girls (49%) had initial blood pressure measurements in the hypertensive range. There was a correlation between the degree of obesity and systolic blood pressure, particularly in boys.
Conclusions: Obese Irish children present with significant long-term health risks, including hypertension at baseline.