Children with sickle cell disease (SCD) in Mississippi have similar rates of increased body mass index (BMI) compared to state and national norms, according to a new study published in the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health. The researchers also noted that those children with SCD and a higher BMI had higher hemoglobin levels as those with a low or average BMI.

“The primary purpose of this cross-sectional study was to determine the prevalence of raised BMI in a paediatric population with SCD in Mississippi, compared to state and national rates, as this has not been reported,” the authors explained.

“Our rationale for assessing children with SCD in Mississippi for BMI status compared to the previous report from New England was to examine weight status in a larger and geographically different sample of children and adolescents with SCD.”

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The research team performed a retrospective, cross-sectional chart review of patients with SCD from 2 to 29 years of age at a single center in Mississippi between October 2013 and April 2019. Low, increased, and highest BMI were the primary outcome measures, and 2016-2017 National Survey of Child Health data were used as reference.

The results showed that the patients in Mississippi were significantly more likely to have an increased BMI than a low BMI, and they had a similar prevalence of increased BMI compared with state and national rates. Those patients with an increased BMI also had higher mean hemoglobin levels, which concurs with previous studies on patients with SCD and a higher BMI.

The authors note that whether these results represent an improvement in the health of children with SCD or raise a concern about lifestyle-related comorbidities is not clear, given the potential impact of poverty, inactivity, and food choices on BMI as well as health care.


Jackson E, Karlson CW, Herring W, et al. Prevalence of raised body mass index in paediatric sickle cell disease. J Paed Child Health. doi:10.1111/jpc.16118