Extra weight equals better health-related quality of life for blacks, not so for women

May 31, 2011, Springer

A survey of nearly 4,000 Americans finds that obese women reported significantly worse health than obese men. Blacks who were overweight also reported better health than blacks in the normal or obese weight categories. Respondents were divided into three categories: normal, overweight, or obese, according to their height and weight.

The survey results are published online in the June issue of Springer's journal Quality of Life Research and they come from a study funded by the National Institute on Aging. During the survey, researchers conducted comprehensive telephone interviews asking health-related questions about cognition, vision, speech, hearing, , pain, mobility, and mental health.

"This study points out that the relationship between extra weight and health-related quality of life varies by gender and race," said Tanya Bentley, PhD, the paper's lead author at the Partnership for Health Analytic Research in Beverly Hills, California.

"Our study did not look at why extra weight seems to be less of a burden for blacks and more of a burden for women, but there are several possible explanations," said David Feeny, PhD, co-author and investigator with the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Oregon. "These are questions that should be addressed in future studies," added Feeny.

To administer the survey, researchers conducted telephone interviews with 3,844 U.S. adults aged 35–89 in 2005-2006. They asked up to 266 questions during interviews which lasted about 45 minutes. The questions came from six different health-related quality of life surveys that include measures of mental and physical health such as mobility, self-care, activity, pain, anxiety and depression, vision, hearing, speech, cognition, and vitality. Most prior studies looking at weight and quality of life have used only one or two of these surveys.

In general, people in the normal weight category, with a body mass index of 18.5–25, scored higher than people who were (BMI 25–29) or obese (BMI 30 and above). In fact, in all six surveys people of normal weight scored higher than their overweight and obese peers. But scored significantly lower than in all six surveys and overweight blacks scored higher than normal weight and obese blacks in four of the six surveys.

More information: Bentley TGK et al (2011). Race and gender associations between obesity and nine health-related quality-of-life measures. Quality of Life Research; DOI:10.1007/s11136-011-9878-7

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

Teens likely to crave junk food after watching TV ads

January 15, 2018
Teenagers who watch more than three hours of commercial TV a day are more likely to eat hundreds of extra junk food snacks, according to a report by Cancer Research UK.

Can muesli help against arthritis?

January 15, 2018
It is well known that healthy eating increases a general sense of wellbeing. Researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now discovered that a fibre-rich diet can have a positive influence ...

Your dishwasher is not as sterile as you think

January 13, 2018
(HealthDay)—Your dishwasher may get those plates spotless, but it is also probably teeming with bacteria and fungus, a new study suggests.

Study reveals what sleep talkers have to say

January 12, 2018
A team of researchers with members from several institutions in France has conducted a study regarding sleep talking and has found that most sleep talking is not only negative in nature, but involves a large amount of swearing. ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

IlyaBeraha
not rated yet Jun 06, 2011
Where did you pick THAT from? "Blacks who were overweight also reported better health than blacks in the normal or obese weight categories." And phone interviews?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.