Background/Aims: The prevalence of adolescent obesity is increasing globally and is associated with adverse physical and psychosocial consequences, including impaired health-related quality of life (HRQoL). This study aimed to investigate relationships between HRQoL and age, physical activity, degree of obesity, and gender in a cohort of overweight and obese adolescents.
Methods: HRQoL data was collected at baseline from overweight and obese adolescents participating in a dietary intervention study. HRQoL was measured using the self-reported Paediatric Quality of Life Inventory 4.0 (PedsQL), including assessment of physical, emotional, social, and school dimensions. Overweight and obesity were defined as BMI ≥91st and ≥98th percentiles on UK growth reference charts, respectively. Analysis consisted of difference between groups (ANOVA, Student’s t-test, Mann-Whitney test), correlations (Pearson’s correlation, Spearman’s rank test) and multivariable prediction (linear regression).
Results: Twenty-seven males and forty-seven female overweight or obese adolescents participated (15.7±1.7y, BMI z-score 2.66±0.75). There was no significant difference between genders in BMI z-scores (p>0.05), although females reported a significantly poorer physical HRQoL (71.2±11.6) than males (80.6±17.9)(p<0.005). Physical activity was positively correlated with physical dimension only (0.547, p<0.05) while age was not correlated with any HRQoL dimension (p>0.05). Physical dimension was negatively correlated with BMI z-score in females only (-0.253, p<0.05).
Conclusions: Females and less physically active individuals reported poorer HRQoL and minimal differences in HRQoL were observed by degree of obesity or by age. Further research is needed to investigate the extent of the effect of obesity on HRQoL in adolescent populations.
Funding Source(s): National Children’s Research Centre, Ireland.