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Development and Psychometric Assessment of the Weight and Eating Quality of Life (WE-QOL) Scale in US Military Veterans.

Masheb RM, Snow JL, Fenn LM, Antoniadis NE, Raffa SD, Ruser CB, Buta E. Development and Psychometric Assessment of the Weight and Eating Quality of Life (WE-QOL) Scale in US Military Veterans. Journal of general internal medicine. 2023 Jul 1; 38(9):2076-2081.

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BACKGROUND: The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) is in need of population health approaches to address overweight and obesity-related diseases. BMI serves as a simple, blunt metric to monitor these efforts. However, emerging research has demonstrated that healthcare weigh-ins contribute to weight stigma which paraodoxically is associated with weight gain. An alternative metric is urgently needed for VHA's MOVE!® Weight Management Program and other eating- and weight-related services. OBJECTIVE: To develop a brief population health metric called the Weight and Eating Quality of Life (WE-QOL) Scale and assess its psychometric properties. DESIGN: The literature was reviewed for relevant weight- and eating-specific QOL measures to identify unique and overlapping constructs. Eight items, representing these constructs, comprised the new brief WE-QOL Scale. A survey study was conducted with data analyzed in STATA. PARTICIPANTS: A total of 213 consecutively evaluated US Veterans attending an orientation session for MOVE!. MAIN MEASURES: The WE-QOL Scale, as well as a widely used generic health-related QOL measure, the European Quality of Life Screener (EQ-ED-5L), and relevant validated measures. KEY RESULTS: WE-QOL descriptive findings demonstrated severe impacts on physical activity and physical discomfort for approximately 30% of the sample each; moderate-to-severe impacts on daily responsibilities, emotional distress, and shame and guilt for one-third of the sample each and public distress for one-fourth of the sample. The WE-QOL Scale performed as well as, or better than, the EQ-ED-5L for internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha? = 0.91) and associations to relevant constructs (BMI, eating pathology, and physical activity). CONCLUSIONS: Findings support the reliability and construct validity of the WE-QOL Scale. The WE-QOL Scale has potential to provide a standardized population health metric that could be used as a screening tool and clinical reminder to identify, refer, and assess outcomes for Veterans with weight and disordered eating issues. Future research could be targeted at using this measure to improve patient care and quality of care.

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