Disordered eating and health-related quality of life in overweight and obese children

J Pediatr Psychol. 2014 Jun;39(5):552-61. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsu012. Epub 2014 Mar 26.


Objectives: To examine disordered eating and associations with health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in rural overweight/obese (OW/OB) children.

Methods: Cross-sectional analyses were conducted with 272 rural OW/OB children aged 8-12 years (M = 10.36; SD = 1.39). Child anthropometrics, demographics, disordered eating attitudes, unhealthy weight control behaviors (UWCBs), and HRQOL were measured. Relationships between these variables were analyzed using bootstrapped multiple linear regressions.

Results: Clinically significant disordered eating attitudes were endorsed by 17% of the sample, and the majority endorsed UWCBs. Disordered eating attitudes and weight status were the most common predictors of HRQOL. Disordered eating attitudes and UWCBs were negatively related to emotional HRQOL but were unrelated to social, school, or physical HRQOL.

Conclusions: Disordered eating is a serious and relevant problem in OW/OB children living in rural areas and may be indicative of impairments in emotional functioning. Early intervention may reduce the risk for eating disorders and associated negative sequelae.

Keywords: children; eating and feeding disorders; obesity; quality of life.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Emotions*
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / complications
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / psychology*
  • Overweight / complications
  • Overweight / psychology*
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Schools
  • Surveys and Questionnaires