Sat. Apr 13th, 2024

Elevated BMI linked to poorer mental health, among women

Several studies have found a strong correlation between obesity and depression and anxiety, with women being more susceptible.

A new study in the journal PLOS ONE suggests that obesity is linked to worse mental health, including sadness and a low sense of wellbeing. It was also noted by researchers at the University College Cork’s School of Public Health in Ireland that lifestyle choices don’t seem to have an effect on these mental health problems.

In this study, 1,821 randomly selected men and women between the ages of 46 and 73 had their medical records reviewed by researchers from a sizable primary care facility.

Using body mass index (BMI) and waist/height ratios, they examined the association between obesity and mental health scores after controlling for lifestyle variables and medical disorders.

In depth

The World Health Organization’s Five Well-Being Index and the Centre for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale, which has 20 items, were both utilised by the experts.

Prior to the start of the study, participants had to fast for a whole night and give blood samples for glycated haemoglobin and fasting glucose levels. In addition to determining BMI, the researchers evaluated waist circumference, weight, and height.

A questionnaire about general health and lifestyle was filled out by the subjects. Using this data, the scientists evaluated lifestyle choices, diseases that were present, and demography.


The researchers found a correlation between an increase in depression and a decrease in well-being and BMI and waist/height ratios that indicated obesity. They also mentioned that women had a far stronger link than males had between depression and fat.

The researchers observed that their findings aligned with earlier investigations. They stated that there are connections between social and physical variables and obesity. They pointed out, for instance, that being overweight might lead to bias, discrimination, and social stigma. Physical symptoms including fibromyalgia, back pain, and joint pain may also result from it.

According to experts, depression symptoms may arise as a result of the social and physical impacts of obesity.


Women, in particular, are often subject to societal norms and expectations regarding appearance. Higher BMI may lead to body dissatisfaction and negative body image, which can, in turn, contribute to the development or exacerbation of mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.

Individuals with higher BMIs, especially women, may face stigma, discrimination, and bias in various aspects of life, including employment, healthcare, and interpersonal relationships. This social stigma can contribute to feelings of isolation, low self-worth, and psychological distress, ultimately impacting mental health.

Addressing both physical health through lifestyle modifications and mental health through therapy, support, and coping strategies is crucial in improving overall well-being for individuals with higher BMIs, especially women.

By Parvathy Sukumaran

Parvathy Sukumaran is a Content Creator and Editor at JustCare Health. She is an Educator and a Language Lecturer. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Education and an M.A in English Literature. She is passionate about writing, archaeology, music and cooking.

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