Prevalence of Gallbladder Stone Disease in Obese Children and Adolescents: Influence of the Degree of Obesity, Sex, and Pubertal Development

Kaechele, Volker*; Wabitsch, Martin; Thiere, Dorothee; Kessler, Alexandra Lydia*; Haenle, Mark Martin*; Mayer, Hermann‡; Kratzer, Wolfgang*

Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology & Nutrition: January 2006 - Volume 42 - Issue 1 - pp 66-70
Original Articles: Hepatology and Nutrition

Objectives: The objective of the present study was to investigate the prevalence of gallbladder stone disease (GD) in a collective of obese children and adolescents and to assess the role of potential influencing factors such as the degree of obesity, sex, age, and pubertal development.

Methods: Four hundred ninety-three obese children and adolescents (body mass index standard deviation score [BMI-SDS] > 2.0p) aged 8 to 19 years (218 males, 275 females) were included in the study and underwent ultrasound for detection of GD.

Results: Gallbladder stones were detected in 10 of 493 (2.0%; 8 girls, 2 boys) subjects studied. None of the 95 prepubertal children examined were found to suffer from GD. Patients with GD were more severely obese (BMI-SDS 3.4 ± 0.5 vs. 2.7 ± 0.4; P < 0.001) and older (16.1 ± 1.5 vs.13.9 ± 2.0 years; P < 0.008) than children and adolescents without GD.

Conclusions: Compared with published data for unselected children an adolescents, the prevalence of GD (2.0%) in obese children and adolescents, previously treated with diet for obesity, is high. Obesity and female sex appear even in children and adolescents to be risk factors for the development of GD. The occurrence of prepubertal GD is rare.

*Departments of Internal Medicine I and †Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, University Hospital of Ulm, Ulm, Germany; and ‡Centre of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, Klinik Hochried, Murnau, Germany

Received November 17, 2004; accepted July 22, 2005.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. M. Wabitsch, Universität Ulm, Abteilung für, Kinder- und Jugendmedizin, Prittwitzstr. 43, 89075 Ulm, Germany. (e-mail:

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.