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Obese Children Can Be Severely Impaired

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You may say it's only baby fat, but obesity has a dramatic negative effect on children's quality of life.

A study by the University of California, San Diego, found that the quality of life for obese children was 5.5 times worse than for a healthy child.

The study included 106 children between the ages of 5 and 18 and their parents who took a test called the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory. Children answered questions about physical, emotional, social and school issues, and parents provided their assessments.

For example, children were asked to rate their health and activities such as ability to walk more than one block and difficulties with sports activities. They were also asked if they were teased or had problems in school such as paying attention in class and keeping up with schoolwork.

Parents were asked to assess their children's physical, emotional, social and school functioning.

The children were also were given physical and laboratory exams for obesity-related medical conditions such as diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea, polycystic ovary syndrome and elevated cholesterol levels.

Researchers said the results showed that doctors, parents and teachers need to be informed of the risk for impaired quality of life among overweight children and to plan ways to treat the mental and physical implications.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the number of obese children in the United States has increased from 5 percent in the 1970s to 15 percent, and that obese children are at increased risk for various chronic diseases later in life.

SOURCE: University of California, San Diego,


Compiled and written by Pete Alfano.



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(c) 2003, Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service.

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