Overweight and obesity in patients with cystic fibrosis: a center-based analysis

Pediatr Pulmonol. 2015 Jan;50(1):35-41. doi: 10.1002/ppul.23033. Epub 2014 Apr 23.


Objective: Cystic fibrosis (CF) has long been associated with malnutrition. However, due to early diagnosis, nutritional supplements, and increased prevalence of obesity in the general population, overweight, and obesity in the CF patient population is becoming a concern. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of obesity and overweight in patients with CF seen at our center, to analyze factors associated with nutritional status, to evaluate the relation between nutritional status and lung function, and to document any adverse health outcomes.

Methods: The CF Patient Registry was queried for patients aged 2-18 who were seen at our center between June 2011 and June 2012. Nutritional statuses of patients were classified in accordance with the CF Foundation guidelines. Analysis of variance was utilized to analyze the differences in lung function between the five weight status groups.

Results: Of the 226 patients with CF aged 2-18 years, 129 (57%) had a BMI percentile consistent with a healthy weight status, 16 (7%) were in nutritional failure, 28 (12%) were at risk of nutritional failure, 35 (15%) were overweight, and 18 (8%) were obese. Based on fecal elastase levels, 50% of the overweight patients and 20% of the obese patients were pancreatic insufficient. FEV1 % predicted was lowest in patients with nutritional failure (P = 0.005). No significant differences were noted between the other four weight groups. In our obese and overweight population, three patients have impaired glucose tolerance, one has CF-related diabetes (CFRD) with fasting hyperglycemia, three have hypertension, and one has obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

Conclusions: The prevalence of overweight and obesity in our CF center is noteworthy, and a significant number of the patients were pancreatic insufficient. In our patient population, overweight, and obesity were not associated with further improvement of lung function. Nutritional approaches need to address the adverse outcomes of overweight and obesity.

Keywords: cystic fibrosis; lung function; nutritional status; pancreatic insufficiency.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Cystic Fibrosis / complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / etiology
  • Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency / complications
  • Female
  • Glucose Intolerance
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Nutritional Status
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Overweight / complications*
  • Registries