Quality of Life Poor for Obese Kids
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.”
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