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07-06-2018 | Uitgave 10/2018

Quality of Life Research 10/2018

Body mass index and waist circumference predict health-related quality of life, but not satisfaction with life, in the elderly

Quality of Life Research > Uitgave 10/2018
Lucy Wang, John D. Crawford, Simone Reppermund, Julian Trollor, Lesley Campbell, Bernhard T. Baune, Perminder Sachdev, Henry Brodaty, Katherine Samaras, Evelyn Smith



While obesity has been linked with lower quality of life in the general adult population, the prospective effects of present obesity on future quality of life amongst the elderly is unclear. This article investigates the cross-sectional and longitudinal relationships between obesity and aspects of quality of life in community-dwelling older Australians.


A 2-year longitudinal sample of community dwellers aged 70–90 years at baseline, derived from the Sydney Memory and Ageing Study (MAS), was chosen for the study. Of the 1037 participants in the original MAS sample, a baseline (Wave 1) sample of 926 and a 2-year follow-up (Wave 2) sample of 751 subjects were retained for these analyses. Adiposity was measured using body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC). Quality of life was measured using the Assessment of Quality of Life (6 dimensions) questionnaire (AQoL-6D) as well as the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS). Linear regression and analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) were used to examine linear and non-linear relationships between BMI and WC and measures of health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and satisfaction with life, adjusting for age, sex, education, asthma, osteoporosis, depression, hearing and visual impairment, mild cognitive impairment, physical activity, and general health. Where a non-linear relationship was found, established BMI or WC categories were used in ANCOVA.


Greater adiposity was associated with lower HRQoL but not life satisfaction. Regression modelling in cross-sectional analyses showed that higher BMI and greater WC were associated with lower scores for independent living, relationships, and pain (i.e. worse pain) on the AQoL-6D. In planned contrasts within a series of univariate analyses, obese participants scored lower in independent living and relationships, compared to normal weight and overweight participants. Longitudinal analyses found that higher baseline BMI and WC were associated with lower independent living scores at Wave 2.


Obesity is associated with and predicts lower quality of life in elderly adults aged 70–90 years, and the areas most affected are independent living, social relationships, and the experience of pain.

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