Paediatric obesity: Documentation, screening, and pharmacotherapy in a national cohort

Arek Hidirsah*, Yan Chai, Ryan Flores, Alaina P. Vidmar, Claudia Borzutzky, Juan Espinoza

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Multiple organizations have published guidelines for the screening and treatment of obesity and related comorbidities in youth, including the use of anti-obesity medications (AOM). This study aimed to determine which paediatric patients: (1) receive a diagnostic code for obesity; (2) are most likely to be screened for hyperlipidaemia, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and type 2 diabetes mellitus; and (3) are most likely to be prescribed AOM. Methods: A cohort of 35 898 patients 9 years 4 months to 17 years 6 months of age with a BMI > 30 or greater than the 95th% on three separate outpatient encounters was generated using the TriNetX database. Logistic regression models were used to estimate the associations between demographics in the study population and the likelihood of diagnosis of obesity, screening for comorbidities, and prescription of AOMs. Results: Asian, Black, and Hispanic youths had increased odds of having a diagnosis of obesity and being screened for all three comorbidities. Documentation of obesity was associated with increased odds of screening for all comorbidities. Female sex, documentation of obesity, and higher BMIs were associated with increased odds of being prescribed AOMs. Black and Native American races decreased the likelihood of being prescribed AOM. Conclusions: Management of obesity in terms of documentation of disease, screening for comorbidities, and initiation of AOM continues to fall short of the guidelines put forth by multiple organizations. Race/ethnicity, sex, and BMI correlate with differences in care provided to obese paediatric patients. Further research is needed to identify the barriers to and causes of these disparities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere13032
JournalPediatric Obesity
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2023


  • anti-obesity medications
  • obesity-related comorbidities
  • screening
  • Type 2 diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Health Policy
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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