Identifying characteristics and outcomes in youth with obesity and developmental disabilities


Advocate Children's Hospital and the Pediatric Developmental Center at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center


BACKGROUND: Youth with developmental disability are at increased risk of obesity; literature focusing on the two is rare.

OBJECTIVE: To identify characteristics and outcomes of youth presenting for obesity care having a disability as compared to without.

METHODS: A medical record review of youth aged 2-18 years initiating obesity care 2013-2015 at a tertiary care obesity management program. Youth were grouped by disability status to identify differences in presenting characteristics and factors associated with a reduction in body mass index (BMI) percent of the 95th BMI percentile (BMIp95) over 12 months. Logistic regression (LR) models examined associations with BMIp95 drop (<5-points versus ≥5-points) for each disability group.

RESULTS: Of 887 subjects, 253 (28.5%) had a disability. At presentation, youth with disability were more often (p < 0.01) male (58.5% versus 47.9%), had birth weight <2500 g (14.1% versus 8.4%), had a father who was not obese (61.6% versus 47.4%), and were on weight influencing medications. Overall, 182 subjects (20.5%) completed 12-month follow-up. At follow-up, the with disability group (n = 63) had mean -2.3 (SD 10.7) BMIp95 change (p = 0.679); youth having a motor disability less often had ≥5-point BMIp95 drop (odds ratio 0.15, 95% confidence interval 0.04-0.59). At follow-up, the no disability group (n = 119) had mean -2.9 (SD 8.5) BMIp95 change; youth identified as having initial severe obesity status and not having a parent with diabetes more often had ≥5-point BMIp95 drop.

CONCLUSION: Youth with developmental disabilities were as successful in obesity care as those without disabilities. Predictors of success differed between the groups.

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