Weight Status, Quality of Life, and Self-Concept in African American, Hispanic, and White Fifth-Grade Children

Published In: Obesity, v. 17, no. 7, July 2009, p. 1356-1362

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2009

by Jan Wallander, Wendell Taylor, Jo Anne Grunbaum, Frank Franklin, Gail G. Harrison, Steve Kelder, Mark A. Schuster

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This study examined the association between weight status and quality of life (QOL) in fifth-grade African American, Hispanic, and white children and the potential mediation of this relationship by self-concept. A sample was recruited from fifth-grade public school students in three sites, of whom 599 were African American (40%), Hispanic (34%), or white (26%). During a home interview, physical and psychosocial QOL and global and body-specific self-concept were measured. Measured height and weight were used to calculate BMI. In this sample, 57% were classified by BMI as not overweight, 17%, overweight, and 26%, obese. Although there was no significant interaction between weight classification and race/ethnicity for QOL, obese children reported significantly lower psychosocial but not physical QOL than those classified as not overweight. There was a significant association between BMI (measured continuously) and psychosocial QOL, but only 2% of the variance was accounted for. Both global self-concept and body dissatisfaction independently mediated significant portions of the association between BMI and psychosocial QOL. Being obese in childhood may have negative psychosocial effects.

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