The role of body mass index, weight change desires and depressive symptoms in the health-related quality of life of children living in urban disadvantage: Testing mediation models

Type Article

Journal Article


C. Wynne; C. Comiskey; S. McGilloway

Year of publication



Psychol Health








OBJECTIVES: This study was undertaken to ascertain whether or not the body mass index (BMI) of urban disadvantaged children indirectly affects their health-related quality of life (HRQoL) through weight change desires and depressive symptoms and whether such mediation is conditional upon age and gender. DESIGN: A total of 255 children aged 7-12 years (50% male) were recruited from 7 schools in urban disadvantaged districts in Ireland using consecutive sampling. A prospective longitudinal design was employed whereby children completed, at two time points, the Kidscreen-27, the Children's Depression Inventory, and the Health Related Behaviour Questionnaire, and had their BMI measured. The analyses involved multiple-, half-longitudinal- and moderated-mediation. RESULTS: Results showed that the depressive symptoms of children wanting to change their weight may have lead, in large part, to poorer HRQoL (specifically psychological well-being when considering longitudinal data) rather than weight status per se. The mediation effect of weight change desires occurred regardless of age or gender. CONCLUSIONS: Childhood obesity programmes that traditionally focus on the negatives of obesity and the need to control weight may need to take a more positive approach to health and well-being by, for example promoting intuitive eating, an active lifestyle, body acceptance and good mental health.