Perceived Fatigue May Be an Overlooked Barrier to Successful Therapeutic Lifestyle Change




Hamby, Tyler
Bopp, Ben
Jarvis, Todd
Wilson, Don
Hamilton, Luke


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Purpose Children and adolescents at-risk of developing premature cardiovascular disease (CVD) due to genetic disorders and acquired conditions, such as obesity and insulin resistance, are often referred to a pediatric lipid clinic. While adoption of a lifelong, heart-hearty lifestyle is encouraged, those with genetic disorders may benefit from lipid-lowering medications. Recommendations for therapeutic lifestyle change in those who are obese, especially the need for less sedentary time and 30-60 min/d of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, may be hindered by a perception of fatigue. An increased perception of fatigue in obese youth vs healthy controls has previously been reported in those referred to an obesity clinic. The purpose of this study was to examine perceived fatigue in a sample of obese youth (age; BMI ³95th percentile) with acquired CVD risk factors, who were referred to a pediatric lipid clinic. METHODS This study was a retrospective chart review of 237 youth referred to the Risk Evaluation to Achieve Cardiovascular Health (REACH) clinic at Cook Children’s Medical Center between January 1, 2014 and August 31, 2018. During the initial clinic visit, each subject and the child’s parent independently completed the PedsQL Multidimensional Fatigue Scale, a validated survey with 18 items divided into 3 subscales – General, Sleep/Rest, and Cognitive – each containing 6 questions. A total score was computed, the range of possible scores ranging from 0 to 100 for each subscale. Higher scores indicate less perception of fatigue. A t-test was used to compare study subjects to previously reported obese youth (N=43) referred to an obesity clinic and normal weight, healthy controls (N=157). A p-value RESULTS The study population consisted of 200 subjects, 50.5% of whom were morbidly obese (³99th percentile). Study subjects had statistically significantly more perception of fatigue for each sub- and total scale for both self- and parent-reported scales (p CONCLUSION Obese youth with and without reported acquired CVD risk-factors experience greater perceived fatigue than healthy controls. It is important to consider barriers to implementation, such as perception of fatigue, when recommending lifestyle modification.