Medication use in normal weight and overweight children in a nationally representative sample of Canadian children

School of Public Health, University of Alberta, 350 University Terrace, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Archives of Disease in Childhood (Impact Factor: 2.91). 07/2012; 97(9):842-7. DOI: 10.1136/archdischild-2011-301195
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT As overweight and obese children are more likely to develop serious medical conditions, they incur higher doctor and hospital costs compared to their normal weight counterparts. Consequently, the differential healthcare costs between obese and normal weight children may be even greater if medication use is considered.
To compare medication use between normal weight and overweight children in a nationally representative sample from Canada.
Data from the Canadian Health Measures Survey 2007/2009, a cross-sectional survey assessing indicators of health and wellness in Canadians, was used in the current study. The analysis included 2087 children and adolescents between 6-19 years of age with valid measures of body mass index (BMI). Poisson/negative binomial regression was used to examine the association between weight status and the number of medications taken in the last month.
For 6-11 year olds, the frequency of prescription, over-the-counter and natural health product (NHP) medication use did not differ between normal weight and overweight/obese children. For 12-19 year olds, overweight/obese children used prescription medication significantly more often than their normal weight peers (adjusted incidence rate ratio (IRR), 1.59; 95% CI 1.19 to 2.14), whereas for NHP the opposite was the case (adjusted IRR, 0.52; 95% CI 0.32 to 0.82). These children also used nervous system and respiratory medications more frequently than their normal weight peers.
The findings of the present study suggest that the differential usage of prescription drugs among overweight/obese children underline the need to develop effective obesity prevention programmes and policies that may reduce the health and economic burden of childhood obesity.

1 Follower
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Increasing rates of childhood obesity have been suggested as a possible cause for the increasing prevalence of chronic conditions among adults and children. Few studies have examined whether obese children are more likely to use medications than normal weight children. We investigate this association in the UK. A panel study with repeated observations at ages 5, 7 and 11. A general population sample drawn from the Millennium Cohort Study, a UK-based birth cohort. A sample of 9667 children. Our primary outcomes were crude and adjusted probabilities of taking any regular medications and the number of medications among overweight and obese children compared with normal weight children. Our secondary outcome was the distribution of medication use by therapeutic classification across body mass index (BMI) groups. Obese children were more likely to use any medication (marginal effect (ME)=0.02, 95% CI 0.01 to 0.03) and to use more medications (ME=0.08, 95% CI 0.04 to 0.12) than normal weight children. Obese children used more medications for respiratory conditions than those of other BMI groups. Obese children are more likely to use regular medications and have comorbid conditions, even at young ages. This suggests that the cost of prescriptions should be considered when evaluating the economic burden of childhood obesity and that preventative strategies to reduce childhood obesity could be cost-effective in the short as well as in the long term. While more research is needed, both clinicians and policymakers should be aware of these findings when planning prevention and treatment strategies. Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to
    BMJ Open 06/2015; 5(6). DOI:10.1136/bmjopen-2014-007373 · 2.06 Impact Factor