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Study Finds Children With Psoriasis More Likely Obese or Overweight

On a global basis, children with psoriasis are more likely to be obese or overweight regardless of psoriasis severity, a recent study has found.

Specifically, the Northwestern Medicine study "Association of Pediatric Psoriasis Severity With Excess and Central Adiposity" published in Archives of Dermatology found that excess adiposity (obesity measured by the body mass index percentile) occurred in 37.9% of children with the skin condition that causes skin redness and irritation as compared to 20.5% of controls, but the results didn't differ significantly by the severity of psoriasis. 

Based on central adiposity, waist circumference above the 90th percentile occurred in 9.3% of the control, 14% of the mild psoriasis, and 21.2% of the of severe psoriasis participants internationally; this incidence was highest in the United States (12.0%, 20.8% and 31.1%, respectively.

Waist to height ratio was significantly higher in psoriatic (0.48) as compared to control (0.46) children, but was unaffected by psoriasis severity. Children with severe psoriasis at its worst, but mild at enrollment, showed no significant difference in excess or central adiposity (measurements of obesity) from children whose psoriasis remained severe.

Participants in the study included 614 children five to 17 years old from nine countries in the Americas, Europe and Asia. 

"In conclusion, children with psoriasis internationally, regardless of severity, are more likely to be overweight or obese and thus are at increased risk for complications related to excess adiposity," says Amy S. Paller, MD, and her research team. 

"Should further studies show excess adiposity to be a precursor for psoriasis, attempts at early weight loss and lifestyle modification will be important, not only to decrease the risk of metabolic disease but also to modulate the course of pediatric psoriasis," the authors added. 

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