By: Pamela Egan, FNP-C CDE
Obese Children Report Low Quality of Life
My granddaughter is excessively overweight. Her parents don’t seem to notice. What can I do?
There are two studies that I came across related to your concern. Obese children’s quality of life ratings can be as low as those of young cancer patients on chemotherapy, according to a new study by researchers at the University of California in San Diego.
The quality of life ratings were much lower than the researchers had anticipated. The results highlight the physical and emotional toll many young obese children endure. The likelihood of significant quality of life impairment was profound for obese children.
Both the obese children and their parents were given a 100 point questionnaire to rate the child’s health and quality of life. The questionnaire included inquiries about fitness, playing sports, sleeping well, getting along with others and keeping up in school. These were compared with previously published scores for healthy children as well as children who had been diagnosed with cancer.
The obese children and adolescents cited several grounds for their low quality of life, including teasing at school, difficulties playing sports, sleep apnea and fatigue. The obese children scored an average of 67 points on their questionnaires. In contrast, normal weight healthy children and adolescents had an average score of 83. Both girls and boys seemed to be effected in the same manner from the adversities of obesity.
In another study, a new program would grade students’ Basal Metabolic Index. Kids in school are accustomed to being graded on their academics, but a new program may grade them on their fitness too.
Health based report cards could be used as an effective tool for parents to help their children manage weight according to a recent study by researchers of the Institute for Community Health in Cambridge, Mass.
According to the researchers, prior to the study, many parents were unaware of their child’s weight. The report card was the most effective way for them to recognize the condition.
The team wanted to know whether an objective assessment of a child’s fitness would raise the appropriate degree of concern and motivate parents to develop plans for weight control and preventive behavior tactics that could make their children healthier.
The report cards included information about weight, height, body mass index and other health related factors. Reportedly, among overweight children, the health report card was associated with increased parental awareness about their child’s weight.
Parents in the report card group were more likely to plan diets or physical activity for their children or seek medical help.
The study also found that there was a generally low awareness among parents with overweight children as to the child’s actual weight status. Of all parents of overweight children in the study, 43 percent reported their child was at a healthy weight. Since many parents were unaware of their child’s weight, the report card was the most effective way for them to recognize the condition.