Early efficacy of the ketogenic diet is not affected by initial body mass index percentile

Shastin Shull, Gloria Diaz-Medina, Lily Wong-Kisiel, Katherine Nickels, Susan Eckert, Elaine Wirrell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background Predictors of the ketogenic diet's success in treating pediatric intractable epilepsy are not well understood. The aim of this study was to determine whether initial body mass index and weight percentile impact early efficacy of the traditional ketogenic diet in children initiating therapy for intractable epilepsy. Methods This retrospective study included all children initiating the ketogenic diet at Mayo Clinic, Rochester from January 2001 to December 2010 who had body mass index (children ≥2 years of age) or weight percentile (those <2 years of age) documented at diet initiation and seizure frequency recorded at diet initiation and one month. Responders were defined as achieving a >50% seizure reduction from baseline. Results Our cohort consisted of 48 patients (20 male) with a median age of 3.1 years. There was no significant correlation between initial body mass index or weight percentile and seizure frequency reduction at one month (P = 0.72, r = 0.26 and P = 0.91, r = 0.03). There was no significant association between body mass index or weight percentile quartile and responder rates (P = 0.21 and P = 0.57). Children considered overweight or obese at diet initiation (body mass index or weight percentile ≥85) did not have lower responder rates than those with body mass index or weight percentiles <85 (6/14 vs 19/34, respectively, P = 0.41). Conclusions Greater initial body mass index and weight-for-age percentiles do not adversely affect the efficacy of the ketogenic diet.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)469-473
Number of pages5
JournalPediatric Neurology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2014


  • body mass index
  • efficacy
  • epilepsy
  • ketogenic diet
  • seizure
  • weight

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology


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