Health-related quality of life in obese children and adolescents

Int J Obes (Lond). 2009 Apr;33(4):387-400. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2009.42. Epub 2009 Mar 3.


Objective: This review addresses the effect of overweight and obese weight status on pediatric health-related quality of life (HRQOL).

Method: Web of Science, Medline, CINAHL, Cochrane Library, EMBASE, AMED and PubMed were searched for peer-reviewed studies in English reporting HRQOL and weight status in youth (<21 years), published before March 2008.

Results: Twenty-eight articles were identified. Regression of HRQOL against body mass index (BMI) using pooled data from 13 studies utilizing the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory identified an inverse relationship between BMI and pediatric HRQOL (r=-0.7, P=0.008), with impairments in physical and social functioning consistently reported. HRQOL seemed to improve with weight loss, but randomized controlled trials were few and lacked long-term follow-up.

Conclusions: Little is known about the factors associated with reduced HRQOL among overweight or obese youth, although gender, age and obesity-related co-morbidities may play a role. Few studies have examined the differences in HRQOL between community and treatment-seeking samples. Pooled regressions suggest pediatric self-reported HRQOL can be predicted from parent proxy reports, although parents of obese youths tend to perceive worse HRQOL than children do about themselves. Thus, future research should include both pediatric and parent proxy perspectives.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Obesity / psychology*
  • Overweight / psychology
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Quality of Life / psychology*