Obesity may skew blood tests in children

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By Robert Preidt
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, December 23, 2019 (HealthDay News) – If your child is obese, new research suggests that those extra pounds may alter the results of routine blood tests.

"We performed the first comprehensive analysis of the effect of obesity on routine blood tests in a large community population of children and found that almost 70% of the blood tests studied were affected," said the first author of the study, Victoria Higgins, of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and the University of Toronto.

The Higgins team examined more than 1,300 healthy children and adolescents in and around Toronto and found that obesity affected 24 routine blood tests, including liver function, inflammation markers, lipids and iron.

The study was published on December 17 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

"As clinical decisions are often guided by normative ranges based on a large healthy population, it is important to understand how and what routine blood tests are affected by obesity to correctly interpret the results of blood tests," Higgins explained in a magazine press release.

It is not clear whether the impact of obesity on blood tests is a sign of early disease, but doctors should take these findings into account when interpreting various types of blood tests in children, the researchers advised.

"We hope that the results of our study will help pediatricians and family doctors better evaluate children and adolescents with varying degrees of overweight or obesity," said Higgins.

There has been a sharp increase in overweight and obesity among young Americans in the past three decades, and the rate of childhood obesity is now approximately 18.5%.

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SOURCE:Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, press release, December 17, 2019

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