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Association between childhood obesity and use of regular medications in the UK: longitudinal cohort study of children aged 5–11 years

Solmi, F; Morris, S; (2015) Association between childhood obesity and use of regular medications in the UK: longitudinal cohort study of children aged 5–11 years. BMJ Open , 5 , Article e007373. 10.1136/bmjopen-2014-007373. Green open access

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Abstract

Objectives 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. Design A panel study with repeated observations at ages 5, 7 and 11. Setting A general population sample drawn from the Millennium Cohort Study, a UK-based birth cohort. Participants A sample of 9667 children. Primary and secondary outcome measures 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. Results 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. Conclusions 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.

Type: Article
Title: Association between childhood obesity and use of regular medications in the UK: longitudinal cohort study of children aged 5–11 years
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2014-007373
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2014-007373
Additional information: Copyright © 2015, The Authors. This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt and build upon this work, for commercial use, provided the original work is properly cited. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: childhood obesity, Millennium Cohort Study, longitudinal analysis
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Applied Health Research
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1468989
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