Health-related quality of life among children and adolescents: associations with obesity.

Research paper by O O Pinhas-Hamiel, S S Singer, N N Pilpel, A A Fradkin, D D Modan, B B Reichman

Indexed on: 19 Oct '05Published on: 19 Oct '05Published in: International Journal of Obesity


To assess the impact of obesity on health-related quality of life (HRQOL) of children, and to compare HRQOL scores of obese children in a hospital versus community setting.A cross-sectional study in two clinical samples.A total of 182 children and adolescents recruited from the community pediatric clinics and a hospital-based obesity clinic.Obesity was defined as body mass index (BMI) >95th percentile for age and gender. Subjects were divided into quartiles of BMI Z-scores each containing 45 or 46 children. The first two quartiles correspond to normal BMI, 3rd and 4th quartiles represent moderate and severe obesity, respectively. HRQOL was assessed by the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory (PedsQL) questionnaire submitted by both children and their parents.Obese children reported significantly lower HRQOL in physical, social and school domains compared with normal weight children (P<0.01). Analyzing results of HRQOL by BMI quartiles showed that the emotional and school domains scores of the moderately obese children were similar to the normal BMI quartiles. Only in the 4th quartile, that of children with severe obesity, were scores significantly lower. In contrast, in both physical and social domains scores decreased progressively with increased BMI Z-scores. In the obese group, parents' scores were lower than the children's in all domains. HRQOL scores of obese children assessed in the hospital clinic were similar to that of obese children assessed in the community.Moderately obese children had similar emotional and school HRQOL scores as normal weight children, whereas in the physical domain, a significant difference was documented even in moderate obesity. Parents of obese children perceived their child's HRQOL lower than the children themselves. We believe that intervention programs aimed at improving HRQOL should be directed to both parents and children. Understanding the resilience of moderately obese children in school and emotional domains may assist us in the management of childhood obesity.