Health-related quality of life, obesity, and fitness in schoolchildren: the Cuenca study

Pablo Franquelo Morales, Mairena Sánchez-López, Pablo Moya-Martínez, Jorge Cañete García-Prieto, María Martínez-Andrés, Noelia Lahoz García, Vicente Martínez-Vizcaíno
Quality of Life Research 2013, 22 (7): 1515-23

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to analyze the association of weight status and physical fitness with health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and to examine the independent association of body mass index (BMI), cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) and musculoskeletal fitness (MF) with HRQoL in schoolchildren.

METHODS: Cross-sectional study of 1,158 schoolchildren, 8-11 years, from 20 schools in the Cuenca province, Spain. We measured weight, height, and physical fitness, measured by CRF (20-m shuttle run test) and MF index by summing the age-sex z scores of handgrip strength test/weight + standing broad jump test. Self-reported HRQoL was measured by KIDSCREEN-52 questionnaire.

RESULTS: Normal weight boys scored better in physical well-being, mood and emotions, autonomy, and social support and peers dimensions than overweight/obese boys. The mean in self-perception dimensions was lower in obese girls compared to normal weight or overweight girls. Higher levels of CRF and MF were associated with better physical well-being in both genders. Multiple linear regression models showed that the influence of MF in boys and CRF in girls on HRQoL was greater than that of overweight.

CONCLUSIONS: This is one of the first studies that assess the association of CRF and MF with HRQoL while controlling for BMI. CRF and MF are closely related to HRQoL, in particular to physical well-being. Improving fitness could be a strategy of particular interest for improving the HRQoL of schoolchildren.

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