Submitted to: Obesity Research
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/1/2005
Publication Date: 9/1/2005
Citation: Tyler, C., Fullerton, G., Johnston, C., Ortega, A. 2005. Weight classification and quality of life in Mexican American children [abstract]. Obesity Research. 13:A190. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: The rates of childhood overweight have increased significantly in the past 20 years with even higher rates in Mexican Americans. Very overweight children experience negative outcomes for physical as well as emotional and psychosocial health. Evidence has suggested that quality of life (QOL) of very overweight children is lower than that of normal weight children and comparable to children with cancer. However, little is known about QOL in Mexican American children. The current study examined QOL in very overweight (body mass index (BMI) >= 99th %ile), overweight (BMI >= 95th %ile), at-risk for overweight (BMI 85 <= 95th %ile), and normal weight (BMI < 85th %ile) Mexican American children, matching across groups for gender, age, and family income. It was hypothesized that very overweight children would have lower QOL than normal weight children. In addition, QOL of overweight and at-risk for overweight children was examined relative to very overweight and normal weight children. Child self-report was obtained in a school sample of Mexican American children, aged 11-14 years, using the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory (Varni et al., 2001). Findings from a multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) revealed significant effect of weight on overall (F=5.48, p<.01), psychosocial (F=3.59, p<.05), and physical health (F=5.90, p<.01) QOL. Compared to normal (n=10), at-risk (n=10), and overweight (n=10) children, very overweight children (n=9) had significantly lower total and physical health QOL. Very overweight children also reported significantly lower psychosocial health QOL than normal weight and at-risk for overweight children. However, very overweight children's psychosocial health QOL ratings did not significantly differ from the ratings of overweight children. Overall, QOL in this school-based population of Mexican American children was impaired when they were very overweight. Additionally, QOL for overweight children may be as impaired as in very overweight children. Future research should address improving QOL for both overweight and very overweight children in school-based settings.