Obese children are more likely to suffer a bone break near the wrist, while also being more likely to experience complications related to healing. So find a team of researchers who presented their study, "Childhood Obesity Increases the Risk of Failure in the Treatment of Distal Forearm Fracture," at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) in New Orleans.
The team examined records collected from an urban pediatric practice between January 2011 and June 2012. All of the 157 patients, who received emergency room and/or surgical treatment for distal radius fractures — a bone break near the wrist — were initially treated with fiberglass casting. Their doctors then monitored the children until their broken bones healed, recording each patient's age, weight, height, and number of office visits, subsequent surgeries, and the type/angle of the fracture for the record.
After analyzing all the records, the team discovered that 66 (or 42 percent) of the children were overweight, with a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than the 85th percentile; and 46 (or 29 percent) were obese, with a BMI greater than the 95th percentile. A total of 27 children required surgical repositioning of the fractured bone. Of the 91 healthy-weight children, 14 (or 12 percent) required the second procedure whereas among the obese children, 13 (or 28 percent) required repeat reduction. In addition, the obese children had more follow-up visits requiring X-rays or other images, and they were also significantly less likely to have an initial, successful bone repositioning in the emergency room.
The researchers concluded that the overweight and obese children should be followed early and more closely than healthy weight children. If their fractures were surgically pinned at the start, that might also help to expedite and ensure appropriate healing for obese children.