Increased BMI may cause lower mental wellbeing: Study

LONDON: Higher body mass index (BMI) may negatively impact a person’s mental wellbeing, according to a study.

The research, published in the BMJ, explored the impact of aspects of physical health, such as body weight, heart health and blood pressure, to see whether a wide age range of individuals with poorer physical health went on to be less happy and less satisfied with their lives.

Using a technique called Mendelian randomisation, researchers from the University of Bristol in the UK asked whether poorer physical health causes lower mental wellbeing, or whether individuals with lower mental wellbeing are more likely to go on to have later problems with their physical health.

This technique provides evidence of the direction of causation by using genetic variants that have been associated with physical health and mental wellbeing.

The research team was able to test 11 measures of physical health including coronary artery disease, heart attack, cholesterol, blood pressure, body fat and BMI, a measure of body fat based on height and weight.

Results suggested a consistent causal effect of higher BMI on lower mental wellbeing. There was little evidence that the other physical health traits were leading to less happiness and life satisfaction. (AGENCIES)

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