, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 59-69

Overweight and its impact on the health-related quality of life in children and adolescents: results from the European KIDSCREEN survey

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Abstract

Purpose

To analyse the impact of overweight on HRQoL in a European sample of children and adolescents.

Methods

Analyses were conducted using data on 17,159 children and adolescents aged 8–18 from 10 European countries (Germany, Spain, France, Netherlands, Austria, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Hungary, Czech Republic and Poland) participating in the KIDSCREEN Health Interview Survey. In the studied sample (N = 13,041), there were slightly more girls (52.6%) than boys (47.4%). Gender- and age-specific cut-offs of Cole et al. (BMJ 320:1240, 2000) were used to define overweight and obesity. The two groups were collapsed into one ‘overweight’ category. HRQoL was assessed on 10 dimensions using the KIDSCREEN-52. Univariate analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was performed for group comparisons (normal weight vs. overweight). Partial eta squared (η p 2 ) was used as a measure of effect strength.

Results

Overall, 14.2% (N = 1,849) of the sample was overweight, with prevalence rates ranging between 9.4% in France and 17.6% in Spain. Across all countries, overweight children and adolescents had lower mean HRQoL scores than normal weight children and adolescents. The strongest HRQoL impairments emerged on the physical well-being (η p 2  = 0.012) and self-perception dimensions (η p 2  = 0.021), both P < 0.001.

Conclusions

This is one of the first studies comparing the impact of HRQoL at European level using a generic and internationally valid HRQoL instrument, and the results show that, irrespective of national background, overweight children and adolescents are significantly impaired on their HRQoL, in particular on the physical well-being and the self-perception domain.