The Combined Effects of Obesity, Abdominal Obesity and Major Depression/Anxiety on Health-Related Quality of Life: the LifeLines Cohort Study.


Obesity and major depressive disorder (MDD)/anxiety disorders often co-occur and aggravate each other resulting in adverse health-related outcomes. As little is known about the potential effects of interaction between obesity and MDD and/or anxiety disorders on health-related quality of life (HR-QoL), this study was aimed at examining these combined effects.


We collected data among N = 89,332 participants from the LifeLines cohort study. We categorized body weight using body mass index (kg/m2) as normal weight (18.5-24.99), overweight (25-29.9), mild obesity (30-34.9) and moderate/severe obesity (≥ 35); we measured abdominal obesity using a waist circumference of ≥102 and ≥ 88 cm for males and females, respectively. MDD and anxiety disorders were diagnosed with the Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview. HR-QoL was assessed using the RAND-36 questionnaire to compute physical and mental quality of life scores. We used binary logistic and linear regression analyses.


The combined effect of obesity and MDD and/or anxiety disorders on physical QoL was larger than the sum of their separate effects; regression coefficients, B (95%-confidence interval, 95%-CI) were: - 1.32 (-1.75; -0.90). However, the combined effect of obesity and major depression alone on mental QoL was less than the additive effect. With increasing body weight participants report poorer physical QoL; when they also have MDD and/or anxiety disorders participants report even poorer physical QoL. In persons without MDD and/or anxiety disorders, obesity was associated with a better mental QoL.


Obesity and MDD and/or anxiety disorders act synergistically on physical and mental QoL. The management of MDD and/or anxiety disorders and weight loss may be important routes to improve HR-QoL.

year of publication



  • PLoS One.


  • Nigatu, YT
  • Reijneveld, SA
  • de Jonge, P
  • van Rossum, E
  • Bültmann, U.

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