A new pediatric study reveals that obese children are more prone to leg, ankle, and foot injury than other children their age. Dr. Wendy J. Pomerantz of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in Ohio and several of her colleagues studied the patient records from the emergency room in their hospital from January 2005 to March 2008. They noticed some very interesting trends. About 30% of obese children in their study had suffered from lower extremity injuries verses the 18% of normal weight children. On the other side of the spectrum the study showed that 15% of the normal weight children suffered from head injuries compared to 10% of the obese children. The study showed that over weight children often had a longer recovery time than other children. They also found that ankle sprains where twice as common among obese children as other children their age. Although the researchers did not have the information explaining how these children became injured the group hypothesized that obese children are more vulnerable during walking or running while normal weight children have an easier time playing sports that carry the risk of head injury.
Of course parents want to protect their children so these numbers might scare some parents into not letting their children be active. But this is not what the study was meant to do. We want children to be active but we want them to be safe about it. Obese children (just like adults) should ease into exercise and sports instead of jumping right in. Pomerantz’s steps following this study are to figure out why these numbers are slated this way and try to find some protective measures to help keep children safe.