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Obese Kids More Prone to Limb Injuries in Car Crashes
Date:12/10/2008

Weaker bones from poor diet, less exercise may be to blame, experts say

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 10 (HealthDay News) -- During a car crash, American children who are overweight or obese face twice the risk of injury to their arms, legs and feet that normal-weight children do, a new study reveals.

The findings come from a national sample of boys and girls between the ages of 9 and 15.

"Ultimately, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for all kids in the age range of the study," noted study author Keshia M. Pollack, an assistant professor with the Center for Injury Research and Policy in the department of health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore. "All kids are at equal risk for crashes, regardless of their body size."

"But we showed that once a crash occurs, kids who are obese and overweight are more likely to experience injuries to their extremities," said Pollack, who is also director of the school's Occupational Injury Epidemiology and Prevention Training Program.

The findings are published in the December issue of Injury Prevention.

One in three U.S. children are either overweight or obese, the researchers noted, so the findings could have wide-ranging implications. According to 2006 figures cited by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 12 percent of children between 2 and 5 are obese, a statistic that rises to around 17 percent for those between the ages of 6 and 19.

In the current analysis, the authors crunched numbers gathered by the national Partners for Child Passenger Safety study, conducted between 2000 and 2006. That study focused on more than 3,200 children who had been involved in nearly 2,900 car crashes.

All the children were at least five feet tall and were therefore not using booster seats. All had been in vehicles driven by their parents at the time of the cra
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