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    Overweight is not treated in children hospitalized with asthma

    A retrospective record review for youngsters admitted with asthma to a Midwestern children’s hospital revealed that overweight and obesity were underrecognized, underdiagnosed, and undertreated.

    Review of the children’s records showed that providers did not document body mass index (BMI) for 96.7% of the total sample of 510 patients aged 3 to 17 years, of whom 19.6% were obese and 13.3% were overweight. 

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    Providers supplied a discharge diagnosis reflecting overweight or obesity in addition to the primary diagnosis of asthma for only 9 of the 168 patients with overweight or obesity, and all 9 of these youngsters were obese. Similarly, all 14 of the 168 overweight/obese asthmatics who received treatment for their weight were obese (Borgmeyer A, et al. Hosp Pediatr. 2016;6[11]:667-676).

    my take  In the community hospital where I work, most hospitalized children have a short length of stay. However, even a short hospitalization is many times longer than a primary care office visit, and we should use that time in the hospital to address health issues other than the reason for admission. These authors identify 1 frequently missed opportunity. Others include resolving immunization delay, especially promoting influenza vaccination; screening for food insecurity; and enhancing education on chronic health conditions and preventive care. —Michael G Burke, MD

    Marian Freedman
    Marian Freedman is a freelance writer.


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