When it comes to obesity in adults, Mississippi ranks first in the nation—with prevalence rates of more than 33%. To determine the prevalence among the state’s hemophilia patients, researchers at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) studied potential obesity risk factors in this population, including race/ethnicity and hemophilia severity. The lead investigator for the study was Suvankar Majumdar, MD, pediatric hematology/oncology, UMMC.
Majumdar and colleagues conducted a retrospective chart review of all 132 hemophilia patients seen at Mississippi’s only hemophilia treatment center (HTC), located at UMMC. Each patient was placed in one of two age groups, 2-19.9 years old (child/adolescent) or 20 years and older (adult). Body mass index (BMI) was gauged using calculations based on the patient’s height and weight taken during the most recent visit to the HTC.
Of the 132 patients, 81 (61%) were white, 49 (37%) were African American, one (1%) was Asian and 1 (1%) was Hispanic. Based on the BMI, more than half (51%) of the patients were classified as overweight or obese. In the adult group, 32% were labeled overweight and 36% obese. In the child/adolescent group 16% of the subjects with hemophilia were overweight and 21% obese. Lastly, investigators found that race/ethnicity and hemophilia severity were not significant risk factors for being overweight or obese.
Majumdar and his team noted that close attention should be paid to BMI scores in people with hemophilia to ensure early recognition of weight problems. “A nutritionist should be an integral part of comprehensive haemophilia care to discuss and educate patients on the importance of diet and exercise. If functional limitations restrict activities, a physical therapist familiar with haemophilia may provide assistance. Referral should be made to a weight reduction program and, if necessary, an obesity clinic to help hemophilic patients reduce weight with the ultimate goal of reducing morbidity and mortality,” concluded the authors.
The study, “Alarmingly High Prevalence of Obesity in Haemophilia in the State of Mississippi,” was published in the May 2010 issue of Haemophilia.