Objectives: To assess the impact of obesity on quality of life (QOL) in black and white adolescents.
Study design: One hundred ten overweight (body mass index [BMI], 41.7 +/- 8.9 kg/m2) and 34 nonoverweight adolescents (BMI, 20.6 +/- 2.9 kg/m2) and their parents completed measures of QOL.
Results: Overweight was associated with poorer adolescent-reported QOL and parent reports of their children's QOL. Examining groups by weight status and race, overweight whites reported the greatest impairment on Social/Interpersonal, Self-Esteem, and Physical Appearance QOL (all P < .01), whereas parents of overweight blacks reported the poorest General Health Perceptions scores regarding their children. Interactions between BMI z-score and race were detected for Social/Interpersonal, Self-esteem, Daily Living, Self-Efficacy, Self-regard, and Physical Appearance QOL (all P < .05): Higher BMI in whites was associated with greater impairments in QOL than in blacks. Parents reported similar relations for their children.
Conclusions: According to adolescent and parent reports, overweight is associated with poorer QOL in adolescence, regardless of race; however, compared with overweight white adolescents, blacks report less impairment in QOL. Future research is required to determine whether differences in QOL are predictive of treatment success.