OBJECTIVES:

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.

METHODS:

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.

RESULTS:

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.

CONCLUSIONS:

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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