FRIDAY, May 20 (HealthDay News) -- The prevalence of psoriasis -- a chronic, inflammatory disease of the skin -- is significantly higher among overweight and obese kids, researchers have found.
The Kaiser Permanente study, published online in the Journal of Pediatrics, also found that teens with psoriasis (regardless of their body weight) have higher cholesterol levels, putting them at greater risk for heart disease.
"This study suggests a link between obesity and psoriasis in children," the study's lead author Corinna Koebnick, research scientist at the Kaiser Permanente Southern California's Department of Research & Evaluation, said in a Kaiser Permanente news release.
"But our study findings also suggest that the higher heart disease risk for patients with psoriasis starts in childhood in the form of higher cholesterol levels. We may need to monitor youth with psoriasis more closely for cardiovascular risk factors, especially if they are obese," Koebnick added.
Using electronic health records to study 710,949 racially and ethnically diverse children, the investigators found obese children were almost 40 percent more likely to have psoriasis than normal weight children. At even greater risk, extremely obese children were nearly 80 percent more likely to have psoriasis than normal weight children. Moreover, it was four times more likely for psoriasis to be severe or more widespread in obese youth than in normal weight children.
The study also revealed that, compared with kids without psoriasis, teens with the skin condition had 4 to 16 percent higher cholesterol levels and liver enzymes, regardless of their weight.
Psoriasis, often viewed merely as a burdensome skin condition, may put children at risk for metabolic disease (such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and heart disease), as seen in adults, the study authors pointed out.
"It has been well described that adults with psori
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