Metabolically healthy obesity in children enrolled in the CANadian Pediatric Weight management Registry (CANPWR): An exploratory secondary analysis of baseline data


Our study purpose was to determine the prevalence of metabolically healthy obesity (MHO) and examine factors associated with MHO in children with obesity. This cross-sectional study was a secondary, exploratory analysis of data that included 2–17 years old with a body mass index (BMI) ≥85th percentile from the CANadian Pediatric Weight management Registry. Children were classified as having MHO or metabolically unhealthy obesity (MUO) using consensus-based criteria. Those with MHO had normal triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, blood pressure, and fasting glucose. Logistic regression was used to examine factors associated with MHO, which included calculating odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). In total, 945 children were included (mean age: 12.3 years; 51% female). The prevalence of MHO was 31% (n = 297), with lower levels across increasing age categories (2–5 years [n = 18; 43%], 6–11 years [n = 127; 35%], 12–17 years [n = 152; 28%]). Children with MHO were younger, weighed less, and had lower BMI z-scores than their peers with MUO (all p < 0.01). MHO status was positively associated with physical activity (OR: 1.18; 95% CI: 1.01–1.38), skim milk intake (OR: 1.10; 95% CI: 1.01–1.19), and fruit intake (OR: 1.12; 95% CI: 1.01–1.24) and negatively associated with BMI z-score (OR: 0.69; 95% CI: 0.60–0.79), total screen time in hours (OR: 0.79; 96% CI: 0.68–0.92), and intake of fruit flavoured drinks (OR: 0.91; 95% CI: 0.84–0.99). These findings may help guide clinical decision-making regarding obesity management by focusing on children with MUO who are at relatively high cardiometabolic risk.

Lead Researchers

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  1. Mark S. Tremblay

    Senior Scientist, CHEO Research Institute

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