Obesity Linked to Blood Clots in Children

Young child eating large slice of pepperoni pizza

It's no secret that obesity puts its sufferers at risk for any number of associated health problems, but a new study, published in the journal of Hospital Pediatrics, has found a link between obesity and the formation of blood clots in the veins of children and adolescents. 

Previous studies examining risk factors for venous thromboembolism (VTE) in adolescents yeilded mixed results. This study, performed by researchers at Wake Forest Baptish Medical Center in North Carolina,  found that obesity as determined by body mass index was a statistically significant predictor of blood clot formation in juveniles, according to Science Daily.

"This is important because the incidence of pediatric VTE has increased dramatically over the last 20 years and childhood obesity remains highly prevalent in the United States," said the study's lead author, Elizabeth Halvorson, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics at Wake Forest Baptist.  

The team retrospectively reviewed charts of patients at Wake Forest Baptist's Brenner Children's Hospital, ages 2-18, with VTE identified by using International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision. Patients were admitted between January 2000 and September 2012. Control subjects were matched based on age, gender, and the presence of a central venous catheter. Additional data was collected on weight, height, and risk factors (including bacterium, ICU admission, immobilization, use of oral contraception, and malignancy). 

Of the 88 patients with confirmed cases of VTE, 33 (37.5%) were obese, though most of them had known risk factors for blood clots in addition to obesity. 

"Our study presents data from a single institution with a relatively small sample size," Halvorson said. "But it does demonstrate an association between obesity and VTE in children, which should be explored further in larger future studies."