Objective: To investigate the impact of overweight and obesity on health-related quality-of-life (HRQL) in the general population in western Sweden.
Design: Cross-sectional survey.
Subjects: A total of 5633 men and women aged 16-64 y born in Sweden.
Main outcome measures: Scale and summary component scores of the SF-36 Health Survey.
Results: Obese men aged 16-34 y rated their HRQL lower than normal-weight men did on all four physical health scales of the SF-36 and on two of the four mental health scales. Obese women in the same age group rated their health worse than normal-weight women on three of the physical health scales. Thus, in younger men and women the analysis indicated a clearer negative association between obesity and physical health than between obesity and mental health. Obese women aged 35-64 y rated their health worse on all scales than normal-weight women did, while obese men in this age group rated their health worse on only two SF-36 subscales-physical functioning and general health perception. The massively obese men and women suffered from a poor level of HRQL.
Conclusion: Not only does the level of obesity affect HRQL, the impact of overweight and obesity also differs by age and sex. The importance of aspects of both physical and mental health should be fully recognised.