Psoriasis And Obesity

Psoriasis and Obesity in Children and Adolescents

by David J Breland, MD, MPH

Psoriasis (sore-EYE-uh-siss) is a chronic skin condition that often occurs early in life. It causes sore or itchy patches of thick red skin with flaky, silver-white patches called scales. It can have a serious effect on people’s lives. Psoriasis is a common autoimmune disease that affects 2 out of every 100 people in the general population. It usually affects around 1 in every 100 children.   Psoriasis can be passed down in families.

Research suggests that there may some important links between obesity and psoriasis. Adults with psoriasis and obese adults have some similar health risks. For example, both groups are more likely than other adults to have diabetes, hypertension, heart attacks and strokes. Also, obese adults are more likely than normal-weight adults to develop psoriasis.

There might be similar links for children, as well. Researchers recently found that obese children were 40% more likely to have psoriasis than normal-weight children. Severely obese children were almost 80% more likely to have psoriasis. They also found that children with psoriasis had higher cholesterol levels than other children of the same weight. These results suggest that the severity of psoriasis is linked with high body weight.1

If your child or adolescent has psoriasis, it is important for them to have regular health care and treatment.  They should also be screened for cardiovascular risk factors.  Healthcare providers should monitor your child or adolescent, and should pay attention to the possible link between obesity and psoriasis. Preventing psoriasis is one more reason that lifestyle changes are important to prevent overweight and obesity.



1. Koebnick C, Black MH, Smith N, et al. The Association of Psoriasis and Elevated Blood Lipids in Overweight and Obese Children. J Pediatr. Apr 20 2011