Describe the distribution of weight status categories and determine factors associated with overweight and obesity (OW/OB) in children and adolescents with spina bifida (SB) using the National Spina Bifida Patient Registry.


Demographic, anthropometric, and clinical data collected from 2009 through 2018 was used to describe the prevalence of OW/OB. The generalized estimating equation model (GEE) identified factors associated with OW/OB among individuals with SB.


Participants (n = 7215) were aged 2 to 19 years (mean = 11.1; standard error, 0.06) and 51.4% female. The majority were non-Hispanic white (57.2%) followed by Hispanic or Latino (25.1%) and non-Hispanic Black (7.5%). The myelomeningocele (MMC) subgroup accounted for 76.3%. Most (60.2%) were community ambulators. The overall percentage of OW/OB was 45.2%, with 49.2% of MMC and 32.0% of nonmyelomeningocele OW/OB. Following the Centers for Disease Control Obesity Severity Classification System, 19.7% of MMC were in class 1, 6.6% in class 2, and 3.5% in class 3. Univariate analysis of MMC participants demonstrated demographic (age, sex, race/ethnicity, and clinic region) and clinical variables (functional level of lesion, ambulation, and number of shunt surgeries) were associated with OW/OB. The GEE model showed that OW/OB was independently, and significantly, associated with age, sex, race/ethnicity, lesion levels, and geographic location of the clinics.


The demographic and clinical factors associated with OW/OB in children and adolescents with SB further our understanding of factors contributing to the higher prevalence of OW/OB in this population and may inform OW/OB prevention and treatment strategies.

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