Few studies have thus far been carried out on Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQoL) and obesity in Arab-speaking countries, an issue that we therefore set out to investigate in this study. HRQoL was assessed by the validated Arabic version of the ORWELL 97 questionnaire in 129 treatment-seeking individuals with obesity referred to the Nutritional and Weight Management Outpatient Clinic at the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics of Beirut Arab University (BAU) in Lebanon, and 129 normal-weight participants of similar age and gender. Participants with obesity, regardless of gender, displayed higher total ORWELL 97 scores when compared with normal-weight controls, indicating that obesity is associated with lower HRQoL. Linear regression analysis showed that a higher body mass index (BMI) is associated with an increase in ORWELL 97 scores, but only among female, not male, participants with obesity (β = 2.89, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.43-4.53, p < 0.001). Moreover, logistic regression analysis showed that a one unit increase in BMI increases the odds of an ORWELL 97 score ≥ 71.75-considered indicative of a clinically significant impairment of HRQoL-by nearly 23% (odds ratio (OR), 95% CI = 1.23, 1.09-1.40, p < 0.05). If confirmed, our findings should prompt clinicians operating in Arab countries to encourage patients with obesity to initiate and persevere in weight-loss programs at the earliest opportunity.
Keywords: Arab states; BMI; Middle East; ORWELL 97; health-related quality of life; obesity.