Medically Speaking: Obesity and Orthopedic Injuries

July 9, 2019

This month’s installment of Medically Speaking features Texas Children’s orthopedic surgeon, Dr. John Heydemann, discussing the rising prevalence of obesity in American adolescents and the increased level of difficulty it creates in the treatment of pediatric orthopedic injuries or deformities.

To clearly relate the two, he highlights four specific treatment areas or conditions that are often exacerbated by, or that can contribute to, obesity. These are:

  • Trauma, including increased fracture rates, higher risk of loss of reduction and increased risk of complications
  • Blount’s disease, a growth disorder of the shin bone that causes the lower leg to be angled inward
  • Slipped capital femoral epiphysis, a hip condition that occurs in adolescents and teens
  • Back pain, potentially due to children leading more sedentary lifestyles

Learn more about the services provided and conditions treated by Texas Children’s Division of Orthopedics.

Fighting obesity at Texas Children’s

In addition to contributing to or complicating the treatment of orthopedic injuries, obesity drives significant health outcomes in Texas Children’s patients. Obesity is one of the biggest drivers of preventable chronic diseases and in childhood can lead to high blood pressure and cholesterol, increased risk of type 2 diabetes, asthma and sleep apnea, and joint problems, not to mention the associated psychological ramifications, such as anxiety and depression.

But obesity it a health problem Texas Children’s Hospital is attacking head on.

This year, Texas Children’s included a system-wide BMI goal as part of our Fiscal Year 2019 care quality objectives. The target was to record BMI for 85 percent of the patient population, ages 2 to 19. In addition to recording BMI, an additional target was set to refer or implement counseling and/or education for more than 40 percent of patients with BMI greater than the 85th percentile.

So far this year, Texas Children’s is exceeding those goals. Through March 2019, we’d recorded BMI for more than 87 percent of our patients, and more than 73 percent of those with BMI in the 85th percentile or higher have been referred to or received the resources they need to combat obesity.

About Medically Speaking

Medically Speaking, a video series from Texas Children’s Service Line Marketing, features some of the brightest minds from several Texas Children’s specialty and subspecialty areas. The series is meant to be a helpful educational resource for parents and a convenient way for physicians and other caregivers to stay up-to-date on the latest in pediatric medicine. Viewers can watch talks on a variety of interesting topics, including advancements in surgery, breakthroughs in research, new clinical trials, and novel and back-practice treatments for specific conditions.

Don’t miss future Medically Speaking episodes featured here on Connect, or view additional episodes now.

This presentation is not intended to present medical advice or individual treatment recommendations, and does not supplant the practitioner’s independent clinical judgment. Practitioners are advised to consider the management of each patient in view of the clinical information. All content is shared for informational purposes only, and reflects the thoughts and opinions of the original author. No physician-patient relationship is being created by the use of this presentation. The presentation sets out recommendations based upon similar circumstances and is provided as an educational tool. The presenters are not attorneys, and to the extent this presentation provides commentary on current laws and regulations affecting health care activities, it is not intended as legal advice.