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Quality of life in overweight and obese young Chinese children: a mixed-method study

06 Mar 2013

Obesity among young children in Hong Kong has become a public health problem. This study explored associations between Chinese parent reported children's quality of life (QoL), socio-demographics and young children's weight status from 27 preschool settings.
A mixed-method approach, including quantitative and qualitative tools, was employed for this cross-sectional study. Quantitative data were collected from 336 Chinese parents of children aged 2--7 years. Paediatric Quality of Life Inventory 4.0 (PedsQL, v 4.0) and a questionnaire about parents' socio-demographics were used. In-depth interviews with mothers, teachers and children from a larger sample were the basis of 10 case studies. Quantitative data were analysed using chi-square analysis, one-way ANOVA and logistic regression. Qualitative data were analysed according to a multi-level framework that established linkages with quantitative data.
The children's Body Mass Index (BMI) ranged from 11.3 to 28.0 kg/m2 and was classified into four weight groups. ANOVAs showed that the normal-weight children had significantly higher PedsQL scores in Physical Functioning than obese children (mean difference = 14.19, p < .0083) and significantly higher scores in School Functioning than overweight children (mean difference = 10.15, p < .0083). Results of logistic regression showed that relative to normal-weight children, obese children had a 2--5 times higher odds of showing problems in Physical, Social Functioning and School Performance. Overweight children had 2 times higher odds of problems in Social Functioning, and underweight children had a 2 times higher odds of problems in Physical Functioning. Children's age (chi2 = 21.71, df = 3, p < 0.01), and housing (chi2 = 33.00, df = 9, p < 0.01) were associated with their weight. The case studies further act as a supplement to the quantitative data that children showed emotional problems across different abnormal weight statues; and the association between children's weight status and well-being might be affected by multiple childcare arrangements and familial immigration status.
This study is one of only a few studies that have examined parents', teachers' and young children's own perceptions of the children's quality of life across different weight statuses. The results are discussed in terms of their implications for intervention.

6 March 2013

Click here to view the full article which appeared in Health and Quality of Life Outcomes