The association of body mass index and health-related quality of life in the general population: data from the 2003 Health Survey of England

Qual Life Res. 2009 Dec;18(10):1293-9. doi: 10.1007/s11136-009-9541-8. Epub 2009 Oct 8.


Objectives: The link between obesity/overweight and life-threatening illnesses is well established. The objective of this study was to investigate the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and health-related quality of life (HRQoL), and any differences between men and women, in the general population of England.

Methods: HRQoL data (from EQ-5D responses of 14,416 individuals aged >or=18 in the 2003 Health Survey for England) were used, and linear regression analyses were conducted to examine the relationship between BMI and HRQoL.

Results: A significant association between BMI and HRQoL was found after controlling for factors such as gender, age, and obesity-related comorbidities. The maximum HRQoL was reached at a BMI of 26.0 in men and 24.5 in women, demonstrating that BMI is negatively associated with HRQoL for both underweight and obese individuals. At higher BMI values, men reported higher HRQoL than women; at lower BMI values, HRQoL was lower in men than women.

Conclusions: There is a significant association between BMI and HRQoL in men and women in the general population. Nearly all aspects of HRQoL are adversely affected by elevated BMI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index*
  • England
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Health Surveys*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity
  • Quality of Life*
  • Young Adult