Severe obesity and global developmental delay in preschool children: Findings from a Canadian Paediatric Surveillance Program study Academic Article uri icon

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  • Abstract Background The co-presentation of severe obesity (SO) and global developmental delay (GDD) in Canadian preschool children has not been examined. However, SO and GDD may require syndromic diagnoses and unique management considerations. Objectives To determine (1) minimum incidence; (2) age of onset and risk factors; and (3) health care utilization for co-presenting SO and GDD. Methods Through the Canadian Paediatric Surveillance Program (CPSP), a monthly form was distributed to participants from February 2018 to January 2020 asking for reports of new cases of SO and GDD among children ≤5 years of age. We performed descriptive statistics for quantitative questions and qualitative content analysis for open-ended questions. Results Forty-seven cases (64% male; 51% white; mean age: 3.5 ± 1.2 years) were included. Age of first weight concern was 2.5 ± 1.3 years and age of GDD diagnosis was 2.7 ± 1.4 years. Minimum incidence of SO and GDD was 3.3 cases per 100,000 for ≤5 years of age per year. Identified problems included school and/or behavioural problems (n = 17; 36%), snoring (n = 14; 30%), and asthma/recurrent wheeze (n = 10; 21%). Mothers of 32% of cases (n = 15) had obesity and 21% of cases (n = 10) received neonatal intensive care. Microarray was ordered for 57% (n = 27) of children. A variety of clinicians and services were accessed. As reported by CPSP participants, challenges faced by families and health service access were barriers to care. Conclusion Children with SO and GDD have multiple comorbidities, and require early identification and referral to appropriate services. These cases may also benefit from additional testing to rule out known genetic obesity syndromes.


  • Gehring, Nicole D
  • Birken, Catherine S
  • Belanger, Stacey
  • Bridger, Tracey
  • Chanoine, Jean-Pierre
  • Gibson, William T
  • Hadjiyannakis, Stasia
  • Haines, Jess
  • Hamilton, Jill
  • Haqq, Andrea M
  • Henderson, Mélanie
  • Ho, Josephine
  • Irvine, Brittany
  • Legault, Laurent
  • Luca, Paola
  • Maguire, Jonathon
  • McPherson, Amy C
  • Morrison, Katherine
  • Wahi, Gita
  • Weksberg, Rosanna
  • Zwaigenbaum, Lonnie
  • Ball, Geoff DC

publication date

  • November 12, 2022