Implications of excess weight on mental wellbeing

Morris, Jodie, Koehn, Stefan, Happell, Brenda, Dwyer, Trudy, and Moxham, Lorna (2010) Implications of excess weight on mental wellbeing. Australian Health Review, 34 (3). pp. 368-374.

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Objective. To assess differences in perceived health-related quality of life among individuals who are normal weight, overweight and obese in the general population, with particular emphasis on mental health.

Method. A cross-sectional study was conducted among the general adult population in Queensland, Australia. Participants (n = 1212) were selected randomly for computer-assisted telephone interview in July 2007. The sample ranged between 18 and 93 years, with a mean age of 51.10 years (s.d. = 15.92). Demographic and physical and mental health (SF-12) data were collected. Self-reported height and weight were used to classify participants into three groups based on their body mass index: normal weight; overweight; obese. The associations between body mass index categories and SF-12 scores were investigated.

Results. In this population sample, excess weight was associated with poorer physical health. In addition, significant associations were observed between excess weight and poor mental health for particular age groups. Obesity had a significant association with poor mental wellbeing for individuals who are aged 45 to 54 years. No sex differences were observed.

Conclusion. The results provide additional evidence of the relationship between excess weight and mental wellbeing and highlight the need for health professionals to be cognisant of the potential for individuals who are obese to have a higher risk of experiencing mental health problems.

What is known about the topic? The body mass index of the general population is rising steadily. Being overweight or obese has a detrimental effect on physical health and is a major cause of preventable death. However, there are conflicting findings regarding the implications of excess weight on an individuals' mental health.

What does this paper add? This paper substantiates the relationship between body mass index and health-related quality of life in the general adult population. Obesity was associated with poor mental wellbeing for individuals between the ages of 45 and 54.

What are the implications for practice? This study underscores the need for mental health and wellbeing to become part of standard assessment practice for individuals who are overweight or obese, particularly those aged between 45 and 54 years.

Item ID: 15674
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1449-8944
Keywords: body mass index, BMI, mental health, obesity, physical health, SF-12
Date Deposited: 09 May 2011 03:03
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111714 Mental Health @ 50%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1608 Sociology > 160899 Sociology not elsewhere classified @ 50%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920410 Mental Health @ 50%
92 HEALTH > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920506 Rural Health @ 50%
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