Day-to-day physical functioning and disability in obese 10- to 13-year-olds
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Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate whether obesity is related to impaired day-to-day physical functioning and disability in children. Methods: An observational case-control study was conducted in three Australian states. Obese (n = 107) and healthy-weight (n = 132) 10- to 13-year-olds (132 male, 107 female) were recruited via media advertisements. Assessment of body composition (dual energy X-ray absorptiometry), locomotor capacity (six-minute walk test [6MWT], timed up and down stairs test [TUDS] and timed up and go [TUG]) and child-reported physical health-related quality of life (HRQoL) were undertaken. Participants wore an accelerometer for 8 days and completed two use-of-time telephone interviews to assess participation in key life areas. Results: Compared with their healthy-weight counterparts, obese children had lower physical HRQoL scores (P < 0.01) and reduced locomotor capacity (TUDS z-score, TUG and 6MWT; P < 0.01). Higher percent body fat was significantly related to lower physical HRQoL scores (r = -0.48, P < 0.01), slower performance times for the TUDS and TUG (r = 0.59 and 0.26 respectively, P < 0.01), shorter 6MWT distances (r = -0.51, P < 0.01) and reduced time spent in community participation activities (r = -0.23, P < 0.01). Conclusions: As anticipated, obesity appears to undermine physical functioning in children, including the capacity to perform basic locomotor skills yet, unexpectedly, participation in key life areas related to physical functioning appeared largely unaffected.
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