Study: For Obese Women, Quality of Life Suffers More
Researchers find that people with a "normal" body mass index (BMI) report a higher quality of life than their overweight or obese peers, with the exception of African-Americans, where overweight respondents reported higher quality of life than their "normal" BMI or obese peers.
From the article:
In general, the heavier you are — that is, the further you veer into overweight territory — the worse your quality of life. But a new survey finds that some groups, such as women, are more negatively affected than others.
For the survey, researchers asked 3,844 U.S. adults aged 35-89 a series of questionnaires designed to gauge the respondents' physical and mental quality of life. The questions included measures of mobility, pain, cognition, "vitality," anxiety and depression, among other factors.
Overall, the survey found, people with "normal" body mass index (ranging from 18.5 to 24.9) reported better health-related quality of life than overweight (BMI of 25 to 29.9) or obese (BMI of 30 to 50) respondents. But when researchers looked more closely at African American participants, they found that those in the overweight group reported higher quality of life scores than their normal-weight and obese peers.
To assess how health-related quality of life (HRQoL) varies by body mass index (BMI) category among gender and racial subgroups using nine HRQoL measures.
Among 3,710 US adults, we evaluated self-reported height, weight, and HRQoL that was measured by six indexes (EQ-5D; HUI2; HUI3; SF-6D; QWB-SA; HALex) and three summary measures (theta; PCS; MCS). Mean HRQoL was estimated by weighted regression for normal, overweight, and obese subgroups (BMI: 18.5–24.9 kg/m2; 25–29.9; and 30–50).
HRQoL was significantly lower (P < 0.0001) with increasing BMI category except for MCS. Obese individuals were 5.3 units lower on PCS (1–100 scale) and 0.05–0.11 lower on the HRQoL indexes (0–1 scale) than those with normal weight. MCS scores were significantly lower for obese than normal-weight among women (P = 0.04) but not men (P = 0.11). Overweight blacks had higher HRQoL than blacks in other BMI categories (P = 0.033).
Six commonly used HRQoL indexes and two of three health status summary measures indicated lower HRQoL with obesity and overweight than with normal BMI, but the degree of decrement varied by index. The association appeared driven primarily by physical health, although mental health also played a role among women. Counter to hypotheses, blacks may have highest HRQoL when overweight.