Results from a recent study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism revealed that the eligibility for bariatric surgery in adulthood may be predicted using a combination of a child’s and parent’s BMI at baseline assessment.
The study findings highlight the importance of including parental BMI when evaluating childhood obesity, according to the researchers from Turku University Hospital in Finland.
Approximately 2.1 billion people in the world are overweight or obese, and consequently at increased risk of many health problems, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer. These conditions account for 70% of deaths in the US and 75% of all healthcare costs.
In the study led by Markus Juonala, MD, PhD, researchers examined the value of using parent-child dyads’ adiposity status for predicting the individual’s later eligibility for bariatric surgery (EBS).
The population involved 2,647 individuals from the longitudinal Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study. Baseline information included own and parental Body Mass Index (BMI) in 1980 (children aged 3–18 years), while adult follow-up assessment examined EBS 21–31 years later. EBS in adulthood was defined as:(1) BMI > 40 kg/m2 or (2) BMI > 35 kg/m2 with ≥1 of the following metabolic complications (i) type 2 diabetes, (ii) hypertension, (iii) dyslipidemia.
The results showed child’s own BMI, mother’s BMI and father’s BMI were all independently associated with the risk of later EBS in adulthood. There was a 2.4 times higher prevalence for eligibility for bariatric surgery in adulthood among children with obesity who had a parent with obesity compared with children with obesity whose parents were not obese.
The absolute risk in obese child-normal weight dyads was 21%. Moreover, the risk was doubled (30.9% vs. 15.2%) if both members of the dyad were obese at two time-points in childhood, when compared to those with obesity at only one time point.
“Our data from the longitudinal Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study shows that information on parental BMI in the assessment of childhood obesity improves the prediction of whether that child may become eligible for bariatric surgery in adult life,” the researchers wrote according to a recent news release. “Parent–child dyads with obesity evident in both generations at two time points were linked to more than a 30% absolute risk of the children developing later severe obesity. Therefore, these data suggest that family-based evaluations in childhood obesity are critical in recognizing those children most at risk of long-term weight-related health problems.”