• We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Logo of jepicomhInstructions for authorsCurrent TOCJournal of Epidemiology and Community Health
J Epidemiol Community Health. Jul 1998; 52(7): 445–450.
PMCID: PMC1756735

"Specific" scale compared with "generic" scale: a double measurement of the quality of life in a French community sample of obese subjects


STUDY OBJECTIVE: To determine the aspects of quality of life that are affected by weight in the general population, to develop a specific questionnaire (OSQOL) that can measure with reliability and validity the impact of overweight and obesity on well being, and to compare the results with those obtained using a well known generic tool (the "SF 36" scale). DESIGN: Cross sectional survey with matched control group. SETTING: Community. PATIENTS: A permanent survey base of approximately 10,000 representative ordinary households were screened for weight and height. Five hundred subjects were randomly drawn from the sub-sample of adult people with a body mass index equal or greater than 27. A control sample of 500 subjects matched for sex, age, and employment status was drawn from the non-obese population. MAIN RESULTS: A short specific Quality Of Life scale, the OSQOL, was produced that comprises 11 items belonging to four independent dimensions. Using this scale and the SF36, it was found that: (1) moderately obese subjects (27 < or = BMI < 30) did not significantly differ from the control group except for physical capacity; (2) in the group of obese subjects with a BMI > 30, quality of life seemed to be impaired for five of nine dimensions of the SF36 compared with the control population, all related to physical consequences of obesity. This population essentially perceived itself in terms of poor general health. (3) No significant difference was observed between the samples for the psychological and social dimensions of the SF36. CONCLUSION: The quality of life of patients with severe obesity is impaired, but it mainly affects the physical consequences of the disease. The psychological and social repercussions that could have been expected to affect this population were not demonstrated. The hypothesis of a process of adaptation of the person and their social environment cannot therefore be excluded. Methodologically, comparison of the specific OSQOL with the generic SF3 shows clearly that the two kinds of scales correspond to different objectives and should be considered as complementary.


Full Text

The Full Text of this article is available as a PDF (119K).

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Wolf AM, Colditz GA. The cost of obesity: the US perspective. Pharmacoeconomics. 1994;5(Suppl 1):34–37. [PubMed]
  • Gorstein J, Grosse RN. The indirect costs of obesity to society. Pharmacoeconomics. 1994;5(Suppl 1):58–61. [PubMed]
  • Kolotkin RL, Head S, Hamilton M, Tse CK. Assessing Impact of Weight on Quality of Life. Obes Res. 1995 Jan;3(1):49–56. [PubMed]
  • Gortmaker SL, Must A, Perrin JM, Sobol AM, Dietz WH. Social and economic consequences of overweight in adolescence and young adulthood. N Engl J Med. 1993 Sep 30;329(14):1008–1012. [PubMed]
  • Burton BT, Foster WR. Health implications of obesity: an NIH Consensus Development Conference. J Am Diet Assoc. 1985 Sep;85(9):1117–1121. [PubMed]
  • Ware JE, Jr, Sherbourne CD. The MOS 36-item short-form health survey (SF-36). I. Conceptual framework and item selection. Med Care. 1992 Jun;30(6):473–483. [PubMed]
  • Sullivan MB, Sullivan LG, Kral JG. Quality of life assessment in obesity: physical, psychological, and social function. Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 1987 Sep;16(3):433–442. [PubMed]
  • Hawker G, Melfi C, Paul J, Green R, Bombardier C. Comparison of a generic (SF-36) and a disease specific (WOMAC) (Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index) instrument in the measurement of outcomes after knee replacement surgery. J Rheumatol. 1995 Jun;22(6):1193–1196. [PubMed]

Articles from Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health are provided here courtesy of BMJ Group


Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...


  • MedGen
    Related information in MedGen
  • PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...