Measuring Weight-Related Quality of Life in Kids

Excess weight is well known to affect health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in adults and the widely used Impact of Weight on Quality of Life tool (IWQoL) has certainly helped to better research and understand this issue. A variation of IWQoL has been validated for 11-19 year olds (IWQoL-Kids), but no good tool exists for younger children.

In this month’s issue of OBESITY, Meg Zeller and Avani Modi from the University of Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, describe a new Quality of Life tool called “Sizing Me Up” designed for assessing the impact of excess weight on the kids aged 5-13 years.

The tool was validated in 141 obese children (mean age = 9.2 years, 67% female, 55% black, mean zBMI = 2.52) and their primary caregivers. Item content for Sizing Me Up was based on the published child obesity and health-related QoL literature and expert opinion.

Sizing Me Up is a 22-item measure with five scales (i.e., Emotional Functioning, Physical Functioning, Social Avoidance, Positive Social Attributes, and Teasing/Marginalization) and a total score.

Items include phrases such as: “were teased by other kids because of your size”, “felt worried…”, “felt frustrated…”, “felt left out…”, “chose not to go to school…”, “chose not to particiapte in gym…”, etc.

Caregivers completed “Sizing Them Up”, a parallel parent-proxy, obesity-specific HRQOL measure.

The tool showed good internal consistency, test–retest reliability, and convergent and construct validity.

Use of this tool should lead to a better understanding of the impact of excess weight (size) on the quality of life in younger school-aged children (aged 5–13 years).