The impact of obesity on quality of life (QoL) and working ability vary in different dimensions. This study investigated the association of obesity with QoL and working ability in Finnish adults. Comorbidities as associative factors were also characterised.
This cross-sectional study included 4956 randomly selected adults. QoL (EUROHIS-QOL 8 total score and individual components), perceived physical and psychological working ability, and sick leave days were analysed in different body mass index (BMI) groups. Regression models were used to study the role of comorbidities as associative factors.
EUROHIS-QOL 8 total score was significantly lower in BMI group 25.0–29.9 kg/m2 (4.01; 95% confidence interval 3.97–4.05), BMI 30.0–34.9 kg/m2 (3.85; 3.79–3.91), BMI 35.0–39.9 kg/m2 (3.75; 3.66–3.85), and BMI ≥ 40.0 kg/m2 (3.73; 3.46–4.00) compared to individuals with normal (18.5–24.9 kg/m2) BMI (4.08; 4.04–4.12). Individuals with obesity (BMI ≥ 30.0 kg/m2) rated their QoL lower than individuals with normal BMI in seven of the eight EUROHIS-QOL 8 components. A lesser proportion of individuals (53–73%) with obesity rated their physical working ability as very or fairly good compared to individuals with normal BMI (90%, p values < 0.001). The psychological working ability was rated as very or fairly good by 71–75% of individuals with obesity compared to 85% of individuals with normal BMI (p = 0.008 and p = 0.001 in individuals with BMI 30.0–34.9 and BMI 35.0–39.9 kg/m2, respectively).
Obesity was negatively associated with both physical and psychological components of QoL, even after accounting for obesity-related comorbidities. Obesity treatment can benefit from a holistic approach that considers these multifaceted associations.
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The dataset used in this study is controlled by THL Biobank. Dataset is available for research upon research plan submission and with permission of THL Biobank.
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THL Biobank granted the permission for the FinHealth 2017 study (permit number BB2019_27) and delivered study data. We acknowledge FinHealth 2017 participants. Harlan Barker from MedEngine Oy is acknowledged for language review.
Novo Nordisk Oy funded the study (collection, analyses and interpretation of the data) and writing the manuscript.
Conflict of interest
TY is the owner of MedEngine Oy. AV, JM, and JJ are employees of MedEngine Oy. TS and KM are employees of Novo Nordisk and TS owns shares in Novo Nordisk. KP has lectured for the following pharmaceutical companies: AstraZeneca, MSD, Novo Nordisk, Sanofi, participated in advisory boards for IKEA, Novo Nordisk, Takeda, Vivus, and has received independent research grants from the following foundations: the Academy of Finland (Grant Nos. 272376, 314383, 266286); Finnish Medical Foundation; Gyllenberg Foundation; Finnish Diabetes Research Foundation; Sigrid Juselius Foundation; Novo Nordisk Foundation (Grant Nos. NNF17OC0027232, NNF10OC1013354); University of Helsinki and Government Research Funds through Helsinki University Hospital. TL and AL have no competing interests.
The FinHealth 2017 Survey received approval from the Coordinating Ethics Committee at the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (Ref 37/13/03/00/2016). This study was based on existing data collected in the FinHealth study complemented with data from the nationwide registers, and no new ethics approval was required. All data used in the analyses were pseudonymous, and the permission to use the FinHealth 2017 data for this study was granted by the THL Biobank.
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All FinHealth 2017 study participants had filled informed consent for a biobank study.
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Vesikansa, A., Mehtälä, J., Jokelainen, J. et al. The association of body mass index with quality of life and working ability: a Finnish population-based study. Qual Life Res 31, 413–423 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11136-021-02993-0