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01-04-2014 | Review | Uitgave 3/2014

Quality of Life Research 3/2014

A review of patient-reported outcomes for children and adolescents with obesity

Quality of Life Research > Uitgave 3/2014
Bani Ahuja, Anne F. Klassen, Randi Satz, Nikita Malhotra, Elena Tsangaris, Matthew Ventresca, Nora Fayed



Obesity is a chronic condition that can impact the physical, emotional, mental and social elements that encompass a child’s life. The objectives of this study were to identify which generic and obesity-specific patient-reported outcome (PRO) instruments are used in obesity literature, as well as review their conceptual approach, health and health-related content, ethical content and psychometric properties.


PubMed, CINAHL, EMBASE and PsycINFO were searched from the inception of each database to May 2012 to identify all studies using multi-dimensional PRO instruments with children who are overweight or obese. The most common generic and all obesity-specific instruments were analyzed according to the study objectives.


From 4,226 articles identified by our search, 70 articles used 6 generic and 4 obesity-specific PRO instruments. While the most commonly used PRO instrument was the generic PedsQL 4.0 (used in 53 studies), many health domains were found in the obesity-specific instruments that are not measured by the PedsQL 4.0. Summary of the development and psychometric properties of the generic and obesity PROs identified that no one instrument meets all the guideline criteria for instrument development and validation, e.g., only one instrument included qualitative input from children with obesity in the content development phase.


This comprehensive review provides information to aid in selecting multi-dimensional PRO instruments in children with obesity according to various aspects of content as well as psychometric properties. The conceptual analysis shows that the reviewed PRO instruments contain inconsistencies in their conceptual approaches. Also, certain relevant health domains to children and youth with obesity were not included in the most commonly used generic instrument. The obesity-specific instruments require further validation before they can be used in intervention studies.

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