MONDAY, Nov. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Children who have the skin condition psoriasis are about twice as likely to be either overweight or obese as kids without the skin problem, according to new research that looked at children from nine countries.
When researchers looked at just obesity, they found those with the skin condition were four times as likely to be obese, said Dr. Amy Paller, a professor and chair of dermatology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, who led the study. It is published online Nov. 19 in the Archives of Dermatology.
U.S. children with severe psoriasis were seven times as likely to be obese as children without the skin condition.
"Pediatric psoriasis is a little bit of an orphan," Paller said. "It's very little studied."
She decided to take a closer look, especially because much research has shown that adults with psoriasis are often overweight. Experts have found a link, not cause and effect.
Psoriasis is marked by red, often itchy and scaly lesions. They can be confined to just some areas, such as the scalp and elbows, or cover much of the body.
The condition can make children self-conscious, affecting their social life and willingness to exercise, among other things, according to Paller.
She evaluated 614 children, ages 5 to 17. While 409 had psoriasis, 205 did not and served as the comparison group.
Of those with psoriasis, about half had mild forms and the other half severe.
About 30 percent of the children with psoriasis had an immediate family member with it. Experts know there is a strong genetic component to the condition.
The findings did not surprise Paller. "We found that, as we suspected, the body mass index of the overall group of kids with psoriasis was much higher,'' she said. Body mass index (BMI) is a measurement of body fat that takes height and weight into accoun
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