Pediatric Nephrology

, Volume 21, Issue 7, pp 973–980 | Cite as

Risk factors for glucocorticoid-induced obesity in children with steroid-sensitive nephrotic syndrome

  • Bethany J. Foster
  • Justine Shults
  • Babette S. Zemel
  • Mary B. Leonard
Original Article


The objective of this work was to determine the prevalence of obesity, defined as BMI >95th percentile, in children treated with glucocorticoids for steroid-sensitive nephrotic syndrome (SSNS), and to identify risk factors for the development for glucocorticoid-induced obesity. The experimental design involved a cross-sectional study of 96 individuals (4 to 21 yrs) treated with glucocorticoids for SSNS and 186 healthy reference subjects. Logistic regression was used to generate odds ratios for obesity. Glucocorticoid exposure was classified as recent in the 54 subjects treated with glucocorticoids in the prior six months, and remote in the remaining 42 subjects. Recent exposure was associated with significantly increased odds of obesity [odds ratio (95% CI): 26.14 (7.54, 90.66)] in non-blacks only. Each one-unit increase in maternal BMI was associated with a 35% increase in the odds of obesity in recent SSNS subjects (p=0.003). The effect of maternal BMI on the odds of obesity was significantly greater in recent SSNS subjects than in reference subjects (test for interaction p=0.038). The odds of obesity were also significantly increased [odds ratio 5.22 (1.77, 15.41), p=0.003] in all subjects with remote glucocorticoid exposure (black and non-black). These results indicate that non-black race and increased maternal BMI are risk factors for glucocorticoid-induced obesity in subjects with recent exposure.


Obesity Body composition Steroids Nephrotic syndrome Corticosteroids 


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Copyright information

© IPNA 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bethany J. Foster
    • 1
    • 5
  • Justine Shults
    • 4
  • Babette S. Zemel
    • 3
  • Mary B. Leonard
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Pediatrics, Division of Nephrology, Montreal Children’s HospitalMcGill University School of MedicineMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Department of Pediatrics, Division of NephrologyThe Children’s Hospital of PhiladelphiaPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Pediatrics, Division of Gastroenterology and Nutrition, The Children’s Hospital of PhiladelphiaUniversity of Pennsylvania School of MedicinePhiladelphiaUSA
  4. 4.Department of Biostatistics and EpidemiologyUniversity of Pennsylvania School of MedicinePhiladelphiaUSA
  5. 5.Montreal Children’s HospitalMontrealCanada

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