, Volume 21, Issue 11, pp 1704-1709,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 16 Oct 2010

Employment Is Associated with the Health-Related Quality of Life of Morbidly Obese Persons



We aimed to investigate whether employment status was associated with health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in a population of morbidly obese subjects.


A total of 143 treatment-seeking morbidly obese patients completed the Medical Outcome Study 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36) and the Obesity and Weight-Loss Quality of Life (OWLQOL) questionnaires. The former (SF-36) is a generic measure of physical and mental health status and the latter (OWLQOL) an obesity-specific measure of emotional status. Multiple linear regression analyses included various measures of the HRQoL as dependent variables and employment status, education, marital status, gender, age, body mass index (BMI), type 2 diabetes, hypertension, obstructive sleep apnea, and treatment choice as independent variables.


The patients (74% women, 56% employed) had a mean (SD, range) age of 44 (11, 19–66) years and a mean BMI of 44.3 (5.4) kg/m2. The employed patients reported significantly higher HRQoL scores within all eight subscales of SF-36, while the OWLQOL scores were comparable between the two groups. Multiple linear regression confirmed that employment was a strong independent predictor of HRQoL according to the SF-36. Based on part correlation coefficients, employment explained 16% of the variation in the physical and 9% in the mental component summaries of SF-36, while gender explained 22% of the variation in the OWLQOL scores.


Employment is associated with the physical and mental HRQoL of morbidly obese subjects, but is not associated with the emotional aspects of quality of life.