Association between body mass index and mental health among Scottish adult population: a cross-sectional study of 37,272 participants

Ul-Haq, Z., Mackay, D. F. , Fenwick, E. and Pell, J. P. (2014) Association between body mass index and mental health among Scottish adult population: a cross-sectional study of 37,272 participants. Psychological Medicine, 44(10), pp. 2231-2240. (doi:10.1017/S0033291713002833)

Ul-Haq, Z., Mackay, D. F. , Fenwick, E. and Pell, J. P. (2014) Association between body mass index and mental health among Scottish adult population: a cross-sectional study of 37,272 participants. Psychological Medicine, 44(10), pp. 2231-2240. (doi:10.1017/S0033291713002833)

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0033291713002833

Abstract

<b>Background:</b> The evidence is conflicting as to whether body mass index (BMI) is associated with mental health and, if so, to what extent it varies by sex and age. We studied mental health across the full spectrum of BMI among the general population, and conducted subgroup analyses by sex and age.<p></p> <b>Method:</b> We undertook a cross-sectional study of a representative sample of the Scottish adult population. The Scottish Health Survey provided data on mental health, measured by the General Health Questionnaire-12 (GHQ), BMI, demographic and life-style information. Good mental health was defined as a GHQ score <4, and poor mental health as a GHQ score ≥4. Logistic regression models were applied. Results Of the 37 272 participants, 5739 (15.4%) had poor mental health. Overall, overweight participants had better mental health than the normal-weight group [adjusted odds ratio (OR) 0.93, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.87–0.99, p = 0.049], and individuals who were underweight, class II or class III obese had poorer mental health (class III obese group: adjusted OR 1.26, 95% CI 1.05–1.51, p = 0.013). There were significant interactions of BMI with sex (p = 0.013) and with age (p < 0.001). Being overweight was associated with significantly better mental health in middle-aged men only. In contrast, being underweight at all ages or obese at a young age was associated with significantly poorer mental health in women only.<p></p> <b>Conclusions:</b> The adverse associations between adiposity and mental health are specific to women. Underweight women and young women who are obese have poorer mental health. In contrast, middle-aged overweight men have better mental health.<p></p>

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Fenwick, Professor Elisabeth and Pell, Professor Jill and Mackay, Dr Daniel
Authors: Ul-Haq, Z., Mackay, D. F., Fenwick, E., and Pell, J. P.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Public Health
Journal Name:Psychological Medicine
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN:0033-2917
ISSN (Online):1469-8978
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2013 Cambridge University Press
First Published:First published in Psychological Medicine 44(10):2231-2240
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher
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