BACKGROUND: Asthma and obesity are 2 common pediatric problems. Obesity is a known risk factor for asthma, and obese children with asthma have higher disease burden. However, little is known on how obesity in urban minority children, mainly Hispanic and African American children, impacts morbidity during pediatric asthma hospitalizations.
METHODS: A retrospective chart review was conducted on children and adolescents age 2 to 18 years hospitalized at the Children's Hospital at Montefiore for an acute asthma exacerbation. We elucidated the association of overweight or obese status with severity of the exacerbation, quantified by length of stay (LOS) and need for intensive care management. Multivariate analysis was conducted to identify independent predictors of LOS.
RESULTS: A total of 975 children met the inclusion criteria, of whom 55% were normal weight and 45% were overweight or obese. Sixty percent were Hispanic, and 37% were African American. The overall average LOS was 2.57 days (range: 0.67-12.92). Overweight or obese status was associated with a higher asthma severity at baseline (P = .021). Overweight or obese children had a longer average LOS compared with normal weight children (2.75 vs 2.39 days; P < .01) with more PICU stays (P = .006), even after adjustment for higher baseline asthma severity. The severity of the exacerbation did not differ by ethnicity.
CONCLUSIONS: Obesity in children hospitalized for asthma is associated with more severe asthma exacerbations, longer LOS, and increased use of PICU level care, independent of their higher baseline disease severity and ethnicity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health