Obesity is a well-recognized risk factor for impaired health-related quality of life (HRQOL). Nevertheless, few studies have investigated the mechanisms underlying the obesity-HRQOL associations. In this study, we explored potential mediators of the associations between obesity and HRQOL.
Body mass index (BMI), an indicator of obesity, and HRQOL data were available for the 34,565 individuals 20 years of age and older participating in the cross-sectional Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2007–2012. HRQOL was measured by the EuroQol five-dimension descriptive system. Path analysis was performed to assess the contributions of obesity-related diseases and self-rated health (SRH) on the relationships between obesity and HRQOL.
In men, obesity was negatively associated with HRQOL through diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and dyslipidemia and positively associated with HRQOL through SRH. These opposite indirect effects offset one another and produced a non-significant association between obesity and HRQOL in men. However, in women, obesity was directly associated with HRQOL and indirectly associated with HRQOL through diabetes mellitus and SRH. Since these associations were in the same negative direction, the negative obesity-HRQOL association was clearly observed in women.
Obesity was negatively associated with HRQOL through obesity-related diseases in both genders. However, in men, the positive association between obesity and SRH resulted in a non-significant association of obesity with HRQOL.