Researchers say that pre-school children who are overweight or obese have a higher risk of bone fractures during childhood than normal-weight pre-schoolers,
The study, published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, aimed to determine if having an overweight or obese range body mass index (BMI) at time of beginning school is associated with increased fracture incidence in childhood.
"In a cohort of almost half a million children from Catalonia, Spain, we have found a strong association between pre-school overweight/obesity and the risk of fracture during childhood," said study senior author Daniel Prieto-Alhambra from the University of Oxford in the UK.
According to the researchers, a dynamic cohort was created from children presenting for routine preschool primary care screening, collected in the Information System for Research in Primary Care (SIDIAP) platform in Catalonia, Spain.
Data were collected from 296 primary care centres representing 74 per cent of the regional pediatric population
The study included 466,997 children with weight and height measurements at age four years who were followed for a median of 4.9 years.
The findings showed that fractures occurred in 9.20 per cent of underweight, 10.06 per cent of normal weight, 11.28 per cent of overweight, and 13.05 per cent of obese children.
Compared with normal weight, overweight and obesity were linked with 42 per cent and 74 per cent higher risks of lower limb fractures, respectively, and a 10 per cent and 19 per cent higher risk of upper limb fractures, respectively.
Overall, preschool children with an overweight or obese range BMI had increased incidence of upper and lower limb fractures in childhood compared with normal-weight kids.
"More research is needed to further understand the mechanisms underlying this correlation," Prieto-Alhambra said.