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The relationship between body mass index and health-related quality of life: comparing the EQ-5D, EuroQol VAS and SF-6D

Abstract

Background:

No other studies have compared the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and health-related quality of life (HRQL) on more than one utility measure. Estimating the HRQL effects of obesity on a (common) utility scale enables the relative cost-effectiveness of interventions designed to alleviate obesity to be estimated.

Objective:

To examine the relationship between BMI and HRQL according to the EQ-5D, EuroQol visual analogue scale (EQ-VAS) and SF-6D.

Methods:

Patients aged 45 years at one UK general practice were asked to complete the EQ-5D, EQ-VAS, SF-36 questionnaire (used to derive the SF-6D), and information on their characteristics and co-morbidity. Body mass index was categorized according to the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations. Regression analysis was used to compare the HRQL of normal BMI patients to the HRQL of patients in other BMI categories, while controlling for patient characteristics and co-morbidity.

Results:

A total of 1865 patients responded (67%), mean BMI 26.0 kg/m2, 16% obese (BMI30). Patients with back pain, hip pain, knee pain, asthma, diabetes or osteoarthritis were also significantly more likely to be obese. After controlling for other factors, compared to normal BMI patients, obese patients had a lower HRQL according to the EQ-5D (P<0.01), EQ-VAS (P<0.001) and SF-6D (P<0.001). Pre-obese patients were not estimated to have a significantly lower HRQL, and underweight patients were only estimated to have a significantly lower HRQL according to the SF-6D. These results arose because, on the EQ-5D, obese patients were found to have significantly more problems with mobility and pain, compared to physical functioning, social functioning and role limitations on the SF-6D. Whereas, according to the SF-6D, underweight patients had significantly more problems on the dimension of role limitation.

Conclusion:

The EQ-5D, EQ-VAS and SF-6D were in agreement that, relative to a normal BMI, obesity is associated with a lower HRQL, even after controlling for patient characteristics and co-morbidity. These three measures are thereby sensitive to the HRQL effects of obesity and can be used to estimate the cost-effectiveness of interventions designed to alleviate obesity.

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Acknowledgements

We thank all patients who completed the Lifestyle Interventions for Knee Pain (LIKP) study questionnaire. The LIKP study was funded by the UK Arthritis Research Campaign (ARC) (Grant number 13550). PhD funding for Garry Barton was provided by the UK Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) (PTA-037-2004-00051).

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Correspondence to T H Sach.

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Sach, T., Barton, G., Doherty, M. et al. The relationship between body mass index and health-related quality of life: comparing the EQ-5D, EuroQol VAS and SF-6D. Int J Obes 31, 189–196 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.ijo.0803365

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.ijo.0803365

Keywords

  • body mass index
  • health-related quality of life
  • EQ-5D
  • SF-6D

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