Novel clinical algorithm for hypothalamic obesity in youth with brain tumours and factors associated with excess weight gain

Pediatr Obes. 2022 Jul;17(7):e12903. doi: 10.1111/ijpo.12903. Epub 2022 Feb 27.


Background: A standardized approach for identifying and treating hypothalamic obesity (HO) in children with hypothalamic tumours is lacking.

Objectives: To describe children with hypothalamic tumours at risk for obesity, assess outcomes of a novel HO clinical algorithm, and identify factors associated with weight gain.

Methods: Retrospective analysis of youth with hypothalamic and suprasellar tumours, seen at a paediatric tertiary care centre from 2010 to 2020.

Results: The study cohort (n = 130, 50% female, median age at diagnosis 5 [range 0-17]y) had a median duration of follow up of 5 (0.03-17)y. At last recorded body mass index (BMI) measurement, 34% had obesity, including 17% with severe obesity. Median onset of overweight and obesity after diagnosis was 6.2 (0.3-134) and 8.9 (0.7-65) months, respectively. After algorithm implementation (n = 13), the proportion that had an early dietitian visit (within 6 months) increased from 36% to 54%, (p = 0.498) and weight management referrals increased from 51% to 83% (p = 0.286). Higher BMI z-score at diagnosis was associated with overweight and obesity development (p < 0.001).

Conclusion: Patients with hypothalamic tumours commonly develop obesity. Use of a clinical algorithm may expedite recognition of HO. Further research is needed to identify predictors of weight gain and to develop effective treatment.

Keywords: hypothalamic; neurooncology; obesity; paediatrics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Algorithms
  • Body Mass Index
  • Brain Neoplasms* / complications
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypothalamic Diseases* / complications
  • Hypothalamic Diseases* / drug therapy
  • Hypothalamic Neoplasms* / complications
  • Hypothalamic Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Hypothalamic Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / diagnosis
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Overweight / complications
  • Overweight / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Weight Gain