Pediatric obesity has become a national epidemic and current trends suggest a continued increase. Obese children have been found to have higher incidences of depression and a lower quality of life (QOL) than children from other often more severe medical populations. As a result, weight management programs are on the increase with the majority measuring outcome success through weight loss and decreased body mass index (BMI). It is evident however, that health factors are not the only factors associated with obesity, and that psychosocial components are important as well. The Loma Linda University Growing Fit Program is unique in that it targets the psychosocial wellbeing of children in addition to weight and diet. As such, the Growing Fit Program needs to rely on outcome measures that also include psychosocial factors to determine the efficacy of the program. This study investigated the relationship between depression and QOL along with pretest/posttest changes in these variables. 24 children between the ages of 7-16, participated in the study. All children included in the study completed the 12 week program and participated in pretest and posttest evaluations. Results indicated that there was a relationship between depression and QOL scores post treatment. Children who had lower levels of depression post treatment had higher QOL scores at the end of the 12 week sessions. Further, results indicated that the psychosocial component of the Growing Fit Program is efficacious as there was a significant change in the post treatment depression and QOL scores when compared to the pretreatment depression and QOL scores with children having significantly less depressive symptoms and a higher QOL after completing the program. Future studies should investigate the high attrition rates in this population so that programs can better meet the needs of these participants. Lastly, future studies should also continue to investigate psychosocial constructs in weight management programs utilizing a larger and more diverse sample.

LLU Discipline





School of Science and Technology

First Advisor

Kimberly Freeman

Second Advisor

Todd Burley

Third Advisor

Kim Hamai

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Obesity -- psychology; Obesity -- prevention & control; Obesity -- diet therapy; Overweight -- epidemiology -- United States; Depression -- diet therapy; Quality of Life -- psychology; Body Mass Index; Weight Loss -- psychological aspects; Nutrition -- physiology; Adolescent; Child; Program Evaluation; Treatment Outcome.



Page Count

ix; 47

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives