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Risk of HS in Adulthood Associated with Childhood Weight

A cohort study found birth weight and childhood weight were associated with the risk of developing hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) in adulthood. The findings were published in JAMA Dermatology.

In the study, the researchers identified cases of HS using data of 347,200 children from the Copenhagen School Health Records register born from 1930 to 1996 and linked to the Danish National Patient Register. Birth weight was reported by parents or guardians, while childhood weight and height were measured by school physicians or nurses at ages 7 through 13 years. They calculated estimate hazard ratios (HR) to assess the association between birth weight, childhood body mass index (BMI), change in BMI during childhood, and childhood height and diagnosis of HS in adulthood.

Overall, 1037 individuals were diagnosed with HS. A total of 677 of individuals diagnosed with HS were female, and the median age at diagnosis was 39 years.
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The researchers found a nonlinear association between birth weight and HS. “Both the lightest (2.00-2.75 kg; HR 1.36; 95% CI, 1.10-1.68) and heaviest babies (4.26-5.50 kg; HR 1.39; 95% CI, 1.01-1.93) had increased risks of HS compared with normal-weight babies (3.26-3.75 kg),” they said.

Compared with normal weight children, those with normal weight at 7 years of age who were overweight at 13 years of age had a significantly increased risk of HS (HR 2.11; 95% CI, 1.63-2.74). Individuals who were overweight at both ages 7 and 13 had an increased risk of HS compared with those who were normal weight at those ages (HR 2.61; 95% CI, 2.02-3.38). The researchers also found that the risk of HS increased significantly with increasing BMI z score at each age from 7 to 13 years, from an HR of 1.32 (95% CI, 1.24-1.40) at 7 years of age to an HR of 1.50 (95% CI, 1.40-1.41) at 13 years of age per BMI z score. However, children who were overweight at 7 years of age but normal weight at age 13 years did not have a significantly increased risk of HS (HR 1.05; 95% CI, 0.67-1.67).

Height at all ages was not associated with an increased risk of HS, the researchers said. The HRs for this association were 1.0 (95% CI, 0.94-1.07) for 7 years of age and 1.06 (95% CI, 0.99-1.13) for 13 years of age.

“Early body weight monitoring provides the opportunity to implement preventive measures aimed at reducing BMI and development of HS,” they concluded.


Jørgensen AR, Aarestrup J, Baker JL, Thomsen SF. Association of birth weight, childhood body mass index, and height with risk of hidradenitis suppurativa [Published online April 29, 2020]. JAMA Dermatol. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2020.1047

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