Adiposity adversely influences quality of life among adolescents

Bamini Gopinath*, Louise A. Baur, George Burlutsky, Paul Mitchell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


We aimed to investigate the cross-sectional and longitudinal relationship between body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, percent body fat (%BF), and weight status (overweight/obese) with health-related quality of life (QOL) in adolescents.

Of 2,353 children (median age 12.7 years) examined, 1,213 (51.7%) with complete data were resurveyed 5 years later, and an additional 475 adolescents were newly recruited. Weight, height, waist circumference, %BF, and body mass index were obtained and defined using standardized protocols. QOL was assessed using the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory (PedsQL).

In cross-sectional analyses, obese boys differed significantly from normal weight boys in the PedsQL physical summary only (multivariable-adjusted p = .005). Boys with the highest %BF (≥95th percentile) compared to their peers in the 6th to 94th percentiles had a significantly lower total PedsQL score (7.7-unit difference, p = .0003), and had adjusted mean scores: 7.92, 7.54, 7.35, 6.51, and 8.56 units lower in the physical summary (p = .0003), psychosocial summary (p = .004), emotional (p = .03), social (p = .02), and school (p = .04) domains, respectively. Nonsignificant cross-sectional associations were observed in girls. Adolescents who remained obese (n = 41) compared to those who were non-overweight/obese (n = 704) over the study period, had lower PedsQL physical summary score 5 years later: 85.6 versus 90.5 (p = .03). Conversely, individuals who were overweight/obese at baseline but who became non-overweight/obese at follow-up (n = 92), had significantly higher physical summary scores than those who remained obese 5 years later (n = 41), 91.4 versus 85.6 (p = .03).

Adiposity in adolescent boys, but not girls, was associated with poorer QOL.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)649-653
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • adolescents
  • body mass index
  • obesity
  • percent body fat
  • quality of life
  • Sydney Childhood Eye Study


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