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Quality of Life Poor for Obese Kids

by Diane Lofshult on Jun 01, 2003

Researchers know that 1 in 7 kids today is obese, yet few studies have measured how obesity affects a child’s quality of life. Now, a new study in the April 9 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has confirmed what many suspected: Compared to their healthy and normal-weight counterparts, obese kids have a significantly lower quality of life. Even more distressing, their quality of life is similar to that of children diagnosed with cancer.

This cross-sectional study involved 106 children between the ages of 5 and 18 who had been referred to an academic children’s hospital for obesity evaluation. The kids had a mean body mass index of 34.7. Quality-of-life scores were measured using a standard pediatric evaluation tool, and scores were compared to previously published scores for healthy, normal-weight children and those diagnosed with cancer.

The researchers concluded that “severely obese children and adolescents have lower health-related quality of life than children and adolescents who are healthy, and similar quality of life [to] those diagnosed with cancer.” Armed with this data, the researchers suggested that “physicians, parents and teachers need to be informed of the risk for impaired health-related quality of life among obese children and adolescents to target interventions that could enhance health outcomes.”

IDEA Health Fitness Source, Volume 2004, Issue 6

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About the Author

Diane Lofshult

Diane Lofshult IDEA Author/Presenter

Diane Lofshult is an award-winning freelance author who specializes in nutrition and weight management topics. She is the founder of In Other Words, an editorial consulting firm based in Solana Beach, California. Reach her at lofshult@roadrunner.com.