Background

Latino males exhibit higher rates of obesity compared to females, which may contribute to increased risk for cardiometabolic disease and reduced quality of life (QOL). The purpose of this study was to compare the long-term impact of a lifestyle intervention between adolescent Latino males and females with obesity.

Methods

Latino males (N=27) and females (N=40) ages 14-16 with obesity (BMI percentile=98.1+1.4) were enrolled in a 12-week lifestyle intervention that consisted of nutrition education (1 day/week) and moderate to vigorous exercise (3 days/week). Youth were followed for 9-months after completion of the intervention to evaluate changes in BMI percentile as well as generic and weight-specific QOL. Ordinary Least Squares regression analyses were used to evaluate sex differences in baseline adjusted outcomes at follow-up.

Results

There were no sex differences at 12-months in BMI percentile (males=98.3+2.1 vs. females=97.2+2.3, β=-0.81, p=0.20) or generic QOL (males 87.7+9.7 vs. females 82.9+14.1, β=-4.24, p=0.09). In contrast, males reported significantly higher weight-specific QOL scores compared to females (males 86.3+15.6 vs. females 76.8+17.9, β=8.36, p= 0.03).

Conclusions

These findings suggest that males experience a greater increase in weight-specific QOL in response to lifestyle intervention. The increase in weight-specific QOL was observed despite a similar response to the intervention in terms of adiposity. Given the recent emphasis on sex as a biological variable, these findings warrant additional consideration when developing lifestyle interventions for youth with obesity.