Health is a concept that is broader than simply the absence of disease, but encompasses physical, social, mental, and emotional well-being. Health-related quality of life (HRQOL) is a notion that attempts to merge all aspects of overall quality of life related to general health. These life circumstances have been identified as both physical and mental . Indices of HRQOL represent physical and mental perceptions, and health risks, functional status, and socioeconomic status. At the population level HRQOL measures conditions and resources that affect the perceptions of health and functional status. In this context, HRQOL can be seen as an expansion to the concept of health which then allows for encompassing the physical and mental needs in a population .
HRQOL is becoming a popular measurable outcome that questions the perceived physical and mental health and function, and is generally considered an appropriate and adequate measure of health care service needs and intervention outcomes . HRQOL measurements allow for scientific demonstration of the impact of quality of life on health. HRQOL is related to self-reported characteristics associated with chronic diseases and risk factors. HRQOL surveillance can provide insights to the identification of sub-groups in a population who have perceived poor health, and then provide guidelines for targeting of high priority interventions.
Several measures have been used to assess HRQOL and related functional status, and to describe these notions in the context of health status. These measures include: Medical Outcomes Study Short Forms (SF-36, SF-12, SF-10 for Children™, and SF-8), the Sick Impact Profile, and Coop Charts. The SF-survey series are used by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the National Committee for Quality Assurance's Health Plan Employer Data Information Set (HEDIS 3.0) to evaluate the quality of care that is provided in managed care plans and other health care facilities .
Health status is determined by several factors, including physical health and functional status, and its measurement involves these dimensions and associated objective and subjective measures. Health status measurement is accomplished as either a health status index or profile. An index is characterized by a single score representing health status. On the other hand, a health status profile provides a multidimensional evaluation of all aspects of health. Health profiles are popular in situations where the interaction of the physical, social, mental and emotional determinants of health are of interest. Health indices are useful in health policy and economic evaluation, because a single score is useful in making choices and decisions. The SF-series and the SF-10 for Children™ are examples of a health profile.
Body Mass Index (BMI) is a tool for indicating a person's weight status. It is a measure of body weight for a specified height. BMI correlates with body fat and a high level of body fat may increase the risk of developing diseases. The relation between fatness and BMI differs with age and gender. As BMI increases, the risk for some disease increases. In adults, BMI is often divided into the following categories with respect to height: (1) underweight, (2) normal weight, (3) overweight, and (4) obese. Common conditions that are related to being overweight or obese include: premature death, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, some cancers, and diabetes. However, BMI is only one of many factors used to predict risk for disease. Different from adults, BMI for children is frequently categorized as (1) underweight, (2) normal weight, (3) at risk for overweight, and (4) overweight. Children's body fatness changes over the years as they grow. Also, girls and boys differ in their body fatness as they mature, so the BMI for children, also referred to as BMI-for-age, is a gender and age specific measurement [5, 6]. In 2007, American Medical Association Expert Committee on the Assessment, Prevention, and Treatment of Child and Adolescent Overweight and Obesity recommended to use "overweight" and "obese" to replace terminology "at risk for overweight" and "overweight" respectively. Since the study was conducted prior to the recommendation, the traditional classification on BMI was used in this study so the findings are consistent with the previous records.
Based on the 2007 data from the National Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, Mississippi led the nation in obesity among adults and public high school students. Similar population data are not available for Mississippi elementary school children. The main objective of this study is to investigate if BMI is associated with HRQOL in a small sample among elementary school students to gain insight about correlates of early onset of obesity.