Implications of excess weight on mental wellbeing
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.