The Association Between Weight Status and Pediatric Forearm Fractures Resulting From Ground-Level Falls

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Abstract

Objective

The purpose of our study was to evaluate the hypothesis that pediatric forearm fractures resulting from ground-level falls are associated with increased weight status (weight for age/sex percentile ≥ 95th) in comparison with those resulting from major trauma.

Methods

This is a retrospective case-control study nested within a case series of 929 children, ages 0 to 17 years, with self-identified residence in Washington, DC, who were treated for isolated forearm fractures in an urban, academic pediatric emergency department between 2003 and 2006. Multivariable logistic regression was performed to test for the association of weight status with mechanism of injury while controlling for sex, age, race/ethnicity, bone fractured, and season.

Results

Of 929 forearm fractures, there were 226 (24.3%) with ground-level falls and 54 (5.8%) with major trauma. Compared with children with forearm fractures resulting from major trauma, ground-level fall cases were significantly older (10.4 [3.4] vs 7.4 [4.2] years, P < 0.05), had greater adjusted odds of having a weight for age/sex of 95th percentile or higher (odds ratio, 2.7; 95% confidence interval, 1.2–6.5), and had significantly more radius-only fractures (odds ratio, 2.3; 95% confidence interval, 1.2–4.7). These groups did not differ in sex, race/ethnicity, or injury season.

Conclusions

Ground-level falls are a common mechanism of pediatric forearm fracture and are significantly associated with increased weight status and radius-only fractures. These results suggest the need for further investigation into obesity and bone health in pediatric patients with forearm fractures caused by ground-level falls.

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