Severely obese people with diabetes experience impaired emotional well-being associated with socioeconomic disadvantage: results from diabetes MILES - Australia

Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2013 Aug;101(2):131-40. doi: 10.1016/j.diabres.2013.05.017. Epub 2013 Jun 24.


Aim: To examine the emotional well-being of severely obese Australians with type 2 diabetes, along with markers of social and economic disadvantage, using the Diabetes MILES - Australia dataset.

Methods: Diabetes MILES - Australia was a national survey of 3338 adults with diabetes that focused on psychosocial issues; 1795 had type 2 diabetes and reported BMI. We extracted data regarding depression (PHQ-9), anxiety (GAD-7), obesity- and diabetes-related comorbidities, and demographics. The severely obese group (SOG) (BMI ≥ 35; median BMI=41.6) constituted 530 (30%) of the type 2 diabetes respondents and was matched with 530 controls (CG) (BMI<35; median BMI=28.2). Within- and between-group trends were examined.

Results: The SOG had higher depression scores (median (IQR) 6.0 (3-12)) than CG (5.0 (2-10)); p<0.001, and were more likely to report moderate-severe depressive symptoms (37% versus 27%; p<0.001). The groups did not differ on anxiety. The SOG, compared with the CG, were more likely to live alone (21% versus 17%), receive a disability pension (21% versus 15%), earn ≤$40.000/year (51% versus 41%; all p<0.05), and were less likely to be employed (46% versus 53%), university or higher educated (17% versus 26%), or have health insurance (50% versus 60%; all p ≤ 0.01). Moderate-severe depression was positively associated with cumulative stressors of severe obesity, socioeconomic disadvantage, and obesity- and diabetes-related comorbidity.

Conclusions: Severely obese people living with type 2 diabetes have cumulative stressors related to health, disability, demographic and socioeconomic factors, and impaired emotional well-being.

Keywords: Depression; Psychosocial comorbidity; Severe obesity; Socioeconomic disadvantage; Type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Depression / etiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Obesity / psychology*
  • Social Class