Background

Weight-related quality of life (WRQOL) in youth reflects self and parental perceptions of daily functioning in relation to physical size, and is an important outcome in obesity intervention trials.

Methods

Validated Sizing Me Up© (child-report) and Sizing Them Up© (parent-report) were used to measure WRQOL within the Healthy Living Program, a 6-week (12 two-hour sessions), community-based weight management intervention delivered to low income, predominantly Hispanic families with children age 2-18 in the Denver, Colorado metropolitan area. Intervention components included parenting skills, behavior change, nutrition, cooking, and fitness. Total and subdomain WRQOL scores were calculated at baseline and 6 weeks. Paired t-tests were used to determine statistically significant changes in WRQOL.

Results

Among participants with WRQOL data (n=348), the mean age was 11, 71% had a parent whose preferred language was Spanish, 37% were below the federal poverty level, and 66% had a highest level of maternal education of high school or lower. The mean baseline total WRQOL score for Sizing Me Up was 69 (0-100) and increased 7.4 points at 6 weeks (p<0.0001), and for Sizing Them Up was 82 (0-100) and increased 1.3 points at 6 weeks (p=0.17). Youth also reported significant improvements in emotional, physical, and social avoidance WRQOL subdomains (all p<0.01). Only the teasing/marginalization subdomain significantly improved by parent report (p=0.02).

Conclusions

Underrepresented youth who participated in a brief, but intense (24 contact hours) weight management intervention that emphasized practical knowledge, hands-on skill building, and positive peer interactions in a family-inclusive environment was associated with significant improvements in youth-reported WRQOL (total and 3 of 5 subdomains). The data also suggest that children and parents perceive impact on WRQOL differently, which reinforces the importance of using both child and parent-reported measures when evaluating this construct.