University of Oulu

Vesikansa, A., Mehtälä, J., Jokelainen, J. et al. The association of body mass index with quality of life and working ability: a Finnish population-based study. Qual Life Res 31, 413–423 (2022).

The association of body mass index with quality of life and working ability : a Finnish population-based study

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Author: Vesikansa, Aino1; Mehtälä, Juha1; Jokelainen, Jari1,2;
Organizations: 1MedEngine Oy, Eteläranta 14, 00130, Helsinki, Finland
2Center for Life Course Health Research, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
3Novo Nordisk Farma Oy, Espoo, Finland
4Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland
5Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland
6Joint Municipal Authority for North Karelia Social and Health Services (Siun Sote), Joensuu, Finland
7Obesity Research Unit, Research Program for Clinical and Molecular Metabolism, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
8Obesity Center, Abdominal Center, Endocrinology, Helsinki University Hospital and University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.4 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2021
Publish Date: 2023-02-01


Purpose: The impact of obesity on quality of life (QoL) and working ability vary in different dimensions. This study investigated the association of obesity with QoL and working ability in Finnish adults. Comorbidities as associative factors were also characterised.

Methods: This cross-sectional study included 4956 randomly selected adults. QoL (EUROHIS-QOL 8 total score and individual components), perceived physical and psychological working ability, and sick leave days were analysed in different body mass index (BMI) groups. Regression models were used to study the role of comorbidities as associative factors.

Results: EUROHIS-QOL 8 total score was significantly lower in BMI group 25.0–29.9 kg/m² (4.01; 95% confidence interval 3.97–4.05), BMI 30.0–34.9 kg/m² (3.85; 3.79–3.91), BMI 35.0–39.9 kg/m² (3.75; 3.66–3.85), and BMI ≥ 40.0 kg/m² (3.73; 3.46–4.00) compared to individuals with normal (18.5–24.9 kg/m²) BMI (4.08; 4.04–4.12). Individuals with obesity (BMI ≥ 30.0 kg/m²) rated their QoL lower than individuals with normal BMI in seven of the eight EUROHIS-QOL 8 components. A lesser proportion of individuals (53–73%) with obesity rated their physical working ability as very or fairly good compared to individuals with normal BMI (90%, p values < 0.001). The psychological working ability was rated as very or fairly good by 71–75% of individuals with obesity compared to 85% of individuals with normal BMI (p = 0.008 and p = 0.001 in individuals with BMI 30.0–34.9 and BMI 35.0–39.9 kg/m², respectively).

Conclusions: Obesity was negatively associated with both physical and psychological components of QoL, even after accounting for obesity-related comorbidities. Obesity treatment can benefit from a holistic approach that considers these multifaceted associations.

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Series: Quality of life research
ISSN: 0962-9343
ISSN-E: 1573-2649
ISSN-L: 0962-9343
Volume: 31
Issue: 2
Pages: 413 - 423
DOI: 10.1007/s11136-021-02993-0
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3142 Public health care science, environmental and occupational health
Funding: Novo Nordisk Oy funded the study (collection, analyses and interpretation of the data) and writing the manuscript.
Copyright information: © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021. This version of the article has been accepted for publication, after peer review (when applicable) and is subject to Springer Nature’s AM terms of use, but is not the Version of Record and does not reflect post-acceptance improvements, or any corrections. The Version of Record is available online at: