Somatic complaints as a mediator in the association between body mass index and quality of life in children and adolescents

Hevy Hassan*, Winifred D. Paulis, Patrick J.E. Bindels, Bart W. Koes, Marienke van Middelkoop

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Background: Children and adolescents with overweight are known to have lower Quality of Life (QoL) compared to peers with a normal weight. QoL is a broad concept and is associated with many factors. A better understanding of the factors associated with QoL in children and adolescents and their impact on the association between overweight/obesity and QoL, may help to develop and improve interventions that lead to an improvement in QoL in children/adolescents with a high body mass index (BMI > 25). This study investigated the possible mediating effects of somatic complaints and general practitioner consultations in the association between overweight/obesity and QoL in children and adolescents. Methods: For the current study, cross-sectional data were used from a longitudinal study, the DOERAK cohort, collected from general practitioners’ medical files and through questionnaires. This cohort included 2-18 year olds with normal weight and overweight. Uni- and multivariate regression analyses were performed to gain more insight into variables associated with QoL. Mediation analyses were performed to investigate the possible mediating effects of somatic complaints and GP consultations in the association between overweight/obesity and QoL in children. Results: In the total sample of 733 participants aged 2-18 years, participants with normal weight had a significantly higher QoL (83.64, SD10.65) compared to participants with overweight (78.61, SD14.34) and obesity (76.90, SD13.63) at baseline. The multivariate analyses showed that a lower socio-economic status (SES), higher BMIz, and the presence of somatic complaints are associated with a lower QoL. The mediation analysis showed a significant effect of the indirect pathway of BMIz on QoL through somatic complaints (β = − 0.46, 95% CI[− 0.90, − 0.06]). Conclusion: BMIz has a direct impact on QoL in children and adolescents. Somatic complaints seem to mediate the effect of BMIz on QoL.

Original languageEnglish
Article number214
JournalBMC Family Practice
Volume22
Issue number1
Early online date28 Oct 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

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