Objective: The objective was to evaluate quality of life (QOL) in at-risk-for-overweight and overweight Mexican-American children after participating in 6 months of intensive weight management or self-help.
Research methods and procedures: Eighty sixth- and seventh-grade at-risk-for-overweight (BMI >or=85th to <95th percentile) and overweight (BMI >or=95th percentile) Mexican-American children were randomly assigned to either intensive instructor-led intervention (ILI) or self-help (SH). The ILI condition included daily participation for 12 weeks in a school-based program comprised of nutrition education, physical activity, and behavior modification, followed by ongoing monthly maintenance. QOL was assessed at baseline and 6 months via child self-report PedsQL. QOL outcomes were compared across treatment groups, and the impact of change in zBMI on change in QOL was evaluated.
Results: Children in the ILI condition not only achieved significantly greater weight loss (zBMI, -0.13 +/- 0.14; p < 0.001) but also significantly greater physical QOL improvements than those in the SH condition at 6 months (p < 0.05). Furthermore, physical QOL increases were associated with zBMI reduction (p < 0.05). However, neither psychosocial nor total QOL was significantly impacted by intervention or zBMI change.
Discussion: These findings show that even modest decreases in zBMI after weight management result in improved physical QOL in Mexican-American children. These results illustrate the clear need to include evaluation of QOL in the process of identifying effective weight management programs.