Obesity may put children at increased risk of hip disease, a condition that can cause life-long morbidity, suggests new research. Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis (SCFE) is the most common hip disease of adolescence. The condition always requires surgery, can cause significant pain, and often leads to a hip replacement in adolescence or early adulthood.
“Ultimately this study helps us to better understand one of the main diseases affecting the hip in childhood,” said one of the study authors Daniel Perry from the Institute of Translational Medicine, University of Liverpool, in Britain.
Children with SCFE experience a decrease in their range of motion, and are often unable to complete hip flexion or fully rotate the hip inward. Early recognition of SCFE is important as the deformity may worsen if the slip remains untreated.
In an effort to identify children at higher risk of this condition, the researchers examined hospital and community based records to explore factors associated with SCFE, and explanations for diagnostic delays.
All of the records examined were of individuals under 16-years-of-age with a diagnosis of SCFE and whose electronic medical record was held by one of 650 primary care practices in Britain between 1990 and 2013.
Using the height and weight of children recorded in the notes at some point before the disease was diagnosed, the researchers were able to identify that obese children appear at highest risk of this condition, according to the study published in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood.
“This is the best evidence available linking this disease to childhood obesity — which makes this condition to be one of the only obesity-related disease that can cause life-long morbidity starting in childhood,” Perry said.