Health-related quality of life (HR-QoL) may be compromised in obese individuals, depending on the presence of other complications. The aim of this study is to assess the effect of obesity-related conditions on HR-QoL. These conditions are i) grade of obesity with and without type 2 diabetes (T2D), ii) metabolic syndrome (MetS), and iii) level of inflammation.
From the Dutch LifeLines Cohort Study we included 13,686 obese individuals, aged 18-80 years. HR-QoL was measured with the RAND 36-Item Health Survey which encompasses eight health domains. We calculated the percentage of obese individuals with poor HR-QoL, i.e. those scoring below the domain and sex specific cut-off value derived from the normal weight population. Logistic regression analysis was used to calculate the probability of having poor domain scores according to the conditions under study.
Higher grades of obesity and the additional presence of T2D were associated with lower HR-QoL, particularly in the domains physical functioning (men: odds ratios (ORs) 1.48-11.34, P<0.005, and women: ORs 1.66-5.05, P<0.001) and general health (men: ORs 1.44-3.07, P<0.005, and women: ORs 1.36-3.73, P<0.001). A higher percentage of obese individuals with MetS had a poor HR-QoL than those without MetS. Furthermore, we observed a linear trend between inflammation and the percentage of obese individuals with poor scores on the HR-QoL domains. Individuals with MetS were more likely to have poor scores in the domains general health, vitality, social functioning and role limitations due to emotional problems. Obese women with increased inflammation levels were more likely to have poor scores on all domains except role limitations due to emotional problems and mental health.
The impact of obesity on an individual's quality of life is enhanced by grade of obesity, T2D, MetS and inflammation and are mainly related to reduced physical health. The mental well-being is less often impaired.