Obesity in Hospitalized Pediatric Patients

1NYU Medical Center, New York, NY
2NYU Medical Center, New York, NY
3Woodhull Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY
4Woodhull Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY
5Woodhull Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY

Meeting: Hospital Medicine 2009, May 14-17, Chicago, Ill.

Abstract number: 67


Childhood obesity confers a substantial risk of adult obesity, lifelong health risks, and social and economic disadvantages. BMI has been the standard as a reliable indicator of overweight and obese children. In 2005, the Institute of Medicine defined a BMI% > 95% for age as obese and BMI% > 85% as overweight. Obesity appears to be undercoded in hospital data given the much higher prevalence in the general population.


We conducted a record review to estimate the prevalence of obese and overweight children, 6 months–18 years, who were hospitalized during a 15‐month period at our urban community hospital. The chart review looked for BMI, diagnosis, and comorbidities from the text of the visit.


A total of 785 children met the inclusion criteria. Thirteen percent had a BMI% of 85%–94%, and 29% had a BMI% > 95% for a total percentage of children with a BMI% > 85% of 42%. Obesity was recognized as a diagnosis or problem in only 23% of the obese patients. When comparing the admitting diagnoses of obese/overweight and non‐obese/overweight children, there was a discrepancy in admitting diagnosis. In the obese subgroup, psychiatric illness was the most common diagnosis (24%), and in the non– obese/overweight subgroup, psychiatric illnesses was fourth (6.7%). This difference was significant (P < 0.0001). There were no differences in respiratory illnesses, skin and soft‐tissue infections, or diabetes.


The prevalence of childhood obesity has risen remarkably in the last 3 decades, with urban areas especially affected. Our chart surveillance reveals a rate of overweight and obesity of more than 40%. Unfortunately, this was grossly underrecognized and underdiagnosed, representing an important missed opportunity to intervene. Of note, psychiatric diagnoses were significantly more common among the overweight/obese.

Author Disclosure:

M. Medows, none; B. Bedri, none; K. Dudycz‐Sulicz, none; R. Pandey, none; D. A. Rauch, none.

To cite this abstract:

Medows M, Rauch D, Bedri B, Dudycz‐Sulicz K, Pandey R. Obesity in Hospitalized Pediatric Patients. Abstract published at Hospital Medicine 2009, May 14-17, Chicago, Ill. Abstract 67. Journal of Hospital Medicine. 2009; 4 (suppl 1). https://www.shmabstracts.com/abstract/obesity-in-hospitalized-pediatric-patients/. Accessed April 8, 2020.

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