Prevalence and documentation of overweight and obesity in hospitalized children and adolescents
OBJECTIVE: Overweight and obesity (OAO) are major problems among children and adolescents. Hospitalization of pediatric patients provides an opportunity for physicians to initiate point-of-care services related to weight status. Our goal was to determine the prevalence of OAO among hospitalized pediatric patients and to assess the extent of documentation of OAO in their medical records. METHODS: We conducted a retrospective chart review of 8- to 18-year-olds admitted to an inpatient pediatric unit during 6 months in 2012. Age, gender, height, weight, BMI, discharge diagnosis, and admitting specialty were extracted from electronic medical records. BMI percentile was calculated from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention growth charts. Prevalence of OAO was determined for medical and surgical subspecialties, and charts were queried for documentation of weight status. RESULTS: The study included 603 patients. Approximately one-third (36.5%) of patients were either overweight or obese, and nearly one-fifth (19.7%) were obese. The prevalence of overweight was similar between medical and surgical specialties. Obesity prevalence differed slightly, at 20.8% and 17.3% (P > .05), respectively. Only 0.9% of overweight and obese patients had documented discharge diagnoses of overweight or obesity, and only 13.2% had documentation of weight status noted anywhere in their medical record. CONCLUSIONS: We identified a significant number of hospitalized OAO patients, an overwhelming percentage of whom never had weight status documented during their admission. Hospitalization offers health providers a window of opportunity to identify obesity, communicate risks, and initiate weight management interventions.
Faculty; Northwell Researcher
School of Medicine; Northwell Health