Obesity in children and adolescents is associated with a number of health and behaviour related concerns. Pain (including headaches) is more prevalent in obese compared with non-obese populations. There is an association between reduced sleep duration and increased risk of obesity. Quality of life ratings are lower in those who are obese.
Aim: The present study examines the self reported data concerning pain and sleep in a population of 240 children and adolescents aged 5 to 16 years referred to a multi-disciplinary intervention programme in Taranaki, New Zealand. Relevant psychometric measures were completed at study enrolment.
Method: Baseline assessments performed from January 2012 to August 2014 were reviewed. Referral criteria were BMI>98th percentile, or >91st percentile with significant weight-related co-morbidities. Self report data from participants and/or their parent was obtained which described the child/adolescent’s experience of headache, their sleep duration, and their wake and bedtimes. Psychometric measures included the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL)1,2 and Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory (PedsQL)3 (Parent and Child versions).
Results: The mean somatic score on the CBCL was 58.48 (SD8.69). Mean child total scale score on the PedsQL was 73.95 (SD26.13). Mean parent total scale score on the PedsQL for their child/adolescent was 71.88 (SD25.29). Headaches were reported in 77 (32%) of participants. Mean sleep duration per night was 10.21 (SD 1.41) hours. Sleeping for less than 10 hours each night was reported for 69 (29%) of participants.
Conclusion: Health and behaviour rated concerns are prevalent in this population of obese children and adolescents. The clinical implications are discussed.