The association between obesity and quality of life: a retrospective analysis of a large-scale population-based cohort study

John Stephenson, Christine Smith, Ben Kearns, Annette Haywood, Paul Bissell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: The relationship between obesity and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) may be confounded by factors such as multimorbidity. The aim of the study was to explore this relationship, controlling for long-term conditions and other health, lifestyle and demographic factors in a general adult population. There was specific interest in the impact of high weight status, measured by body mass index (BMI) levels (obesity, morbid obesity) compared with individuals of normal weight.
Methods: Health, lifestyle and demographic data were collected from 64,631 individuals aged 16 years and over registered in the Yorkshire Health Study; a long-term cohort study. Data were collected in 2 waves: from patients attending GP surgeries in the South Yorkshire region; and using online recruitment across the entire Yorkshire and Humber area. Univariable and multivariable regression methods were utilised to identify factors associated with HRQoL as measured by the EQ-5D summary score. Long-term conditions were tested as both covariates and mediating factors on the causal pathway between obesity and HRQoL.
Results: Increasing levels of obesity are associated with reduced HRQoL, although this difference is negligible between those of normal weight and those who are overweight. Individuals with obesity and morbid obesity score 4.9 and 11.3 percentage points less on the EQ-5D summary scale respectively than those of normal weight. Concurrent physical, and particularly mental health-related long-term conditions are substantively related to HRQoL: those with 3 or more reported mental or physical health conditions score 29.8 and 14.6 percentage points less on the EQ-5D summary scale respectively than those with fewer conditions. Long-term conditions can be conceptualised as lying on the causal path between obesity and HRQoL, but there is weak evidence for a partial mediating relationship only.
Conclusions: To conclude, in agreement with the established literature we have found a clear inverse relationship between increasing weight status and decreasing HRQoL and confirmed the mediating role of long-term conditions in the reduction of HRQoL in people with obesity. Nevertheless, a high BMI remains independently related to HRQoL, suggesting that ‘healthy people with obesity’ may be in transition to an unhealthy future.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBMC Public Health
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 21 Sep 2021

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'The association between obesity and quality of life: a retrospective analysis of a large-scale population-based cohort study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this