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J Pediatr Surg. 2009 Jun;44(6):1218-22; discussion 1222. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2009.02.029.

Injury patterns among obese children involved in motor vehicle collisions.

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Department of Surgery, Division of Pediatric Surgery, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35233, USA.



The purpose of this study was to compare injury patterns among obese children to their nonobese counterparts involved in motor vehicle collisions.


A nationwide data collection program containing occupant, collision, and injury details from police-reported tow-away crashes between 1997 and 2006 were used. Risk ratios (RRs) and associated 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were adjusted for age, sex, restraint, seat track position, vehicle curb weight, and total velocity change.


An estimated 9 million children aged 2 to 17 years (20.2% obese) were involved in motor vehicle collisions during the study period. Among 2-to-5-year-olds, obesity increased the risk of severe head (RR, 3.67; 95% CI, 1.03-13.08) and thoracic (2.27; 1.01-5.08) injuries. Among 6-to-9-year-olds, obesity increased risk of thoracic (2.31; 1.08-4.95) and lower extremity (LE) injuries (1.89; 1.03-3.47). Among 10-to-13-year-olds, obesity increased the risk of severe thoracic (1.98; 1.08-3.65) and LE (6.06; 2.23-16.44) injuries. Among 14-to-17-year-olds, obesity increased risk of severe LE injuries (1.44; 1.04-2.00) but decreased risk of abdominal (0.20; 0.07-0.60) and head (0.33; 0.18-0.60) injuries, very similar to the pattern reported in obese adults.


The pattern of obesity-associated injuries changes from a higher risk of head and thoracic injuries among young children to a pattern in late teenagers that is similar to obese adults.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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