Overweight is not treated in children hospitalized with asthma

January 1, 2017

A retrospective record review for youngsters admitted with asthma to a Midwestern children’s hospital revealed that overweight and obesity were underrecognized, underdiagnosed, and undertreated.

A retrospective record review for youngsters admitted with asthma to a Midwestern children’s hospital revealed that overweight and obesity were underrecognized, underdiagnosed, and undertreated.

Review of the children’s records showed that providers did not document body mass index (BMI) for 96.7% of the total sample of 510 patients aged 3 to 17 years, of whom 19.6% were obese and 13.3% were overweight. 

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Providers supplied a discharge diagnosis reflecting overweight or obesity in addition to the primary diagnosis of asthma for only 9 of the 168 patients with overweight or obesity, and all 9 of these youngsters were obese. Similarly, all 14 of the 168 overweight/obese asthmatics who received treatment for their weight were obese (Borgmeyer A, et al. Hosp Pediatr. 2016;6[11]:667-676).

my take  In the community hospital where I work, most hospitalized children have a short length of stay. However, even a short hospitalization is many times longer than a primary care office visit, and we should use that time in the hospital to address health issues other than the reason for admission. These authors identify 1 frequently missed opportunity. Others include resolving immunization delay, especially promoting influenza vaccination; screening for food insecurity; and enhancing education on chronic health conditions and preventive care. -Michael G Burke, MD

Ms Freedman is a freelance medical editor and writer in New Jersey. Dr Burke, section editor for Journal Club, is chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at Saint Agnes Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland. The editors have nothing to disclose in regard to affiliations with or financial interests in any organizations that may have an interest in any part of this article.