Relationship between severity of obesity and mental health: An Australian community survey

Natalie P. Knoesen, Serafino G Mancuso, Samantha Thomas, Paul Komesaroff, Sophie Lewis, David Jonathan Castle

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    3 Citations (Scopus)


    Introduction: In Australia the incidence of obesity is increasing rapidly and has become a significant public health concern. In addition to the many physical consequences of obesity many studies have reported significant mental health consequences, including major depression, mood and anxiety disorders. The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between severity of obesity and perceived mental health in an Australian community sample. Methods: A cross-sectional survey design was used. A total of 118 participants, aged between 19 and 75 years with a body mass index (BMI)≥30kg/m 2 returned a completed questionnaire. The SF-36 Health Survey, Kessler Psychological Distress Scale, Social Interaction Anxiety Scale and the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support were used. Results: After adjusting for age, gender, perceived social support and physical health quality of life, obesity was not significantly associated with mental health quality of life (SF-36). The strongest factor influencing mental health was perceived physical health. Mediation analyses suggest that physical health mediates the relationship between obesity and mental health quality of life. Discussion: Our findings support the view that physical health mediates the relationship between obesity and mental health. Public health interventions should focus on reducing the impact of obesity on physical health by encouraging participation in healthy lifestyles, which in turn, may improve mental wellbeing.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)67-75
    Number of pages9
    JournalAsia-Pacific Psychiatry
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012


    • Anxiety symptom
    • Depressive symptom
    • Mental health
    • Obesity
    • Physical health

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