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Study explores risks of obesity in children with kidney transplants

Obese children who get kidney transplants tend to be younger, shorter and on dialysis longer than their leaner peers, according to a study in the February issue of the journal Pediatrics.

A review of 6,658 children age 2-17 receiving transplants in the United States, Mexico and Canada between 1987 and 2002 showed that obese children age 6-12 had a five-year mortality rate more than double that of non-obese children the same age: 12.1 percent compared to 5.4 percent respectively.

Across the entire age spectrum studied, obese children who received a transplant were more likely to die of cardiopulmonary disease the leading cause of death in adult kidney transplant patients than non-obese children.

"Pediatricians should educate families on the potential risks of excessive weight gain during dialysis and post-kidney transplant," the authors write, noting that obesity is an increasing problem in patients of all ages with end-stage renal disease and one that has received little attention in children.

"These are going to be prematurely old children in a way because they are going to have all these cardiovascular complications and risks at a younger age," says Dr. Coral D. Hanevold, lead author and chief of the Section of (Pediatric) Nephrology at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta. "These children are more likely to develop hypertension, hyperlipidemia and diabetes at an early age. We are doing transplants so these children can survive, but if they are overweight, that is going to cut into their life expectancy."

She notes that while most children with kidney failure are not overweight, the numbers are increasing: 8 percent of the study children were categorized as obese between 1987-1995 compared with 12.4 percent between 1995-2002.

"Obesity is an increasing problem in children presenting for transplantation and may have an adverse effect on allograft and patient survival," the authors write. Some transplant c
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Contact: Toni Baker
tbaker@mcg.edu
706-721-4421
Medical College of Georgia
7-Feb-2005


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