Assessing Impact of Weight on Quality of Life

Obes Res. 1995 Jan;3(1):49-56. doi: 10.1002/j.1550-8528.1995.tb00120.x.


This paper is a preliminary report on the development of a new instrument, the Impact of Weight on Quality of Life (IWQOL) questionnaire, that assesses the effects of weight on various areas of life. We conducted two studies utilizing subjects in treatment for obesity at Duke University Diet and Fitness Center. The first study describes item development, assesses reliability, and compares pre- and post-treatment scores on the IWQOL. In the second study we examined the effects of body mass index (BMI), gender, and age on subjects' perceptions of impact of weight on quality of life. Results indicate adequate psychometric properties with test-retest reliabilities averaging .75 for single items, and .89 for scales. Scale internal consistency averaged .87. Post-treatment scores differed significantly from pre-treatment scores on all scales, indicating that treatment produced positive changes in impact of weight on quality of life. The results of the second study indicate that the impact of weight generally worsened as the patients' size increased. However for women there was no association between BMI and impact of weight on Self-Esteem and Sexual Life. Even at the lowest BMI tertile studied, women reported that weight had a substantial impact in these areas. There were also significant gender differences, with women showing greater impact of weight on Self-Esteem and Sexual Life compared with men. The impact of age was a bit surprising, with some areas showing positive changes and others showing no change.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aging
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / psychology*
  • Psychological Tests
  • Quality of Life*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Surveys and Questionnaires