Open Access Research article

Cardiometabolic risk factors and quality of life in severely obese children and adolescents in the Netherlands

Sabine Makkes1*, Carry M Renders1, Judith E Bosmans1, Olga H van der Baan-Slootweg2 and Jacob C Seidell1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Health Sciences and the EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

2 Merem Treatment Centers, Heideheuvel, Hilversum, The Netherlands

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BMC Pediatrics 2013, 13:62  doi:10.1186/1471-2431-13-62

Published: 22 April 2013



The prevalence of severe obesity in children and adolescents is increasing. However, little is known about cardiometabolic risk factors and quality of life of children with severe obesity.

Therefore, the aim of this study was to assess the demographic characteristics and the prevalence of cardiometabolic risk factors and quality of life in severely obese children and adolescents undergoing intensive inpatient treatment for obesity.


Data were collected between August 2009 and April 2011 on 16 children (8-13y) and 64 adolescents (13-19y) with severe obesity (SDS-BMI >= 3.0 or SDS-BMI >= 2.3 and comorbidity) participating in an RCT evaluating two intensive inpatient treatment programs for obesity. Demographic, anthropometric, clinical characteristics and two components of the EuroQol for the assessment of quality of life are described.


Eighty percent of participants in this study had at least one cardiometabolic risk factor in addition to severe obesity. Low HDL-cholesterol and hypertension were most prevalent (65.0% respectively 31.2%). The highest significant correlations were found between SDS-BMI and SDS-waist circumference, fasting plasma insulin and HOMA-IR (correlation coefficients respectively 0.80, 0.49, and 0.48). With regard to quality of life, the mean utility score of the participants was 0.79 on a scale of 0.0 to 1.0 on the EuroQol questionnaire and their mean individual valuation was 69.1 on a scale of 0 to100.


Cardiometabolic risk factors are already highly prevalent in this group of severely obese children and adolescents. The score of 69.1 found for quality of life in this study suggests that participants experience important limitations in their quality of life. However, quality of life is not associated with the prevalence of cardiometabolic risk factors.

Trial registration

Netherlands Trial Register (NTR1678, registered 20-Feb-2009)

Severe obesity; Child; Adolescent; Cardiometabolic risk factors; Quality of life