Methods: Participants from the IDEFICS study were recruited from eight countries between September 2007 and June 2008 when the children were aged 2 to 9.9 years old. Children and families provided data on lifestyle, psychosocial well-being, and measured anthropometry at baseline and at follow-up 2 years later. This study includes children with weight, height, and psychosocial well-being measurements at both time points (n = 7,831). Psychosocial well-being was measured by the KINDL® and Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire respectively. The first instrument measures health-related quality of life including emotional well-being, self-esteem, parent relations and social relations while the second measures well-being based on emotional symptoms, conduct problems and peer-related problems. Logistic regression was used for modeling longitudinal associations.
Results: Children who were overweight at baseline had increased risk of poor health-related quality of life (odds ratio (OR) = 1.23; 95 % confidence interval (CI):1.03–1.48) measured 2 years later; this association was unidirectional. In contrast to health-related quality of life, poor well-being at baseline was associated with increased risk of overweight (OR = 1.39; 95 % CI:1.03–1.86) at 2 year follow-up; this association was also only observed in one direction. Adjustment for parental education did not change our findings.
Conclusion: Our findings indicate that the association between overweight and psychosocial well-being may be bidirectional but varies by assessment measures. Future research should further investigate which aspects of psychosocial well-being are most likely to precede overweight and which are more likely to be consequences of overweight.
- Childhood overweight
- European cohort
- Health-related quality of life
- Strengths and difficulties