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Obese Children Rank Their Quality of Life as Low as Cancer Patients

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Researchers at the University of California in San Diego have found that obese children rate their quality of life with scores as low as those of young cancer patients on chemotherapy.

The study found that problems such as teasing at school, difficulties playing sports, fatigue, sleep apnea and other obesity-linked problems all severely affect youngsters’ well-being.

Recent data suggests 15% of US youngsters are severely overweight or obese. The study found that severely obese youngsters and adolescents seeking obesity treatment have a more that five-fold increased risk of reporting low quality of life than healthy youngsters.

The study involved 106 children aged 5 to 18 years who filled out a questionnaire used by paediatricians to evaluate quality of life issues. Parents answered the same questionnaires, and their ratings of their children’s well-being were even lower than the youngsters’ self-ratings. The obese children’s scores in the questionnaires were similar to quality of life self-ratings from a previously published study of about 100 pediatric cancer patients. Girls and boys appeared to be equally adversely affected by obesity.

Obesity-related ailments were common and included fatty liver disease, obstructive sleep apnea, diabetes and orthopedic problems caused by excess weight. The childrens’ mental and physical health could be improved by more physical activity, a diet low in saturated fats and high in fruit and vegetables.

(Source: Journal of the American Medical Association)

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Dates

Posted On: 9 April, 2003
Modified On: 3 December, 2013

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