Obesity has rapidly become a major problem for children that has adverse effects on respiratory health. We sought to assess the impact of obesity on health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and hospital outcomes for children hospitalized with asthma or pneumonia.
In this multicenter prospective cohort study, we evaluated children (aged 2–16 years) hospitalized with an acute asthma exacerbation or pneumonia between July 1, 2014, and June 30, 2016. Subjects or their family completed surveys for child HRQOL (PedsQL Physical Functioning and Psychosocial Functioning Scales, with scores ranging from 0 to 100) on hospital presentation and 2–6 weeks after discharge. BMI categories were defined as normal weight, overweight, and obesity on the basis of BMI percentiles for age and sex per national guidelines. Multivariable regression models were used to examine associations between BMI category and HRQOL, length of stay, and 30-day reuse.
Among 716 children, 82 (11.4%) were classified as having overweight and 138 (19.3%) as having obesity. For children hospitalized with asthma or pneumonia, obesity was not associated with worse HRQOL at presentation or 2–6 weeks after discharge, hospital length of stay, or 30-day reuse.
Nearly 1 in 3 children seen in the hospital for an acute asthma exacerbation or pneumonia had overweight or obesity; however, among the population of children in our study, obesity alone does not appear to be associated with worse HRQOL or hospital outcomes.