Research abstract:

Identify the prevalence of obesity in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) compared with healthy adolescents, and those identified with CFS in a population cohort.

Cross-sectional analysis of multiple imputed data.

Data from UK paediatric CFS/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) services compared with data collected at two time points in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC).

1685 adolescents who attended a CFS/ME specialist service between 2004 and 2014 and 13 978 adolescents aged approximately 13 years and 16 years participating in the ALSPAC study.

Main outcome measures:
Body mass index (BMI) (kg/m2), sex-specific and age-specific BMI Z-scores (relative to the International Obesity Task Force cut-offs) and prevalence of obesity (%).

Adolescents who had attended specialist CFS/ME services had a higher prevalence of obesity (age 13 years: 9.28%; age 16 years: 16.43%) compared with both adolescents classified as CFS/ME in ALSPAC (age 13 years: 3.72%; age 16 years: 5.46%) and those non-CFS in ALSPAC (age 13 years: 4.18%; age 16 years: 4.46%). The increased odds of obesity in those who attended specialist services (relative to non-CFS in ALSPAC) was apparent at both 13 years (OR: 2.31 (1.54 to 3.48)) and 16 years, with a greater likelihood observed at 16 years (OR: 4.07 (2.04 to 8.11)).

We observed an increased prevalence of obesity in adolescents who were affected severely enough to be referred to a specialist CFS/ME service. Further longitudinal research is required in order to identify the temporal relationship between the two conditions.

Obesity in adolescents with chronic fatigue syndrome: An observational study, by T Norris, K Hawton, J Hamilton-Shield, E Crawley in Archives of Disease in Childhood
[Preprint September 21, 2016]


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