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Am J Epidemiol. 2013 Sep 1;178(5):804-12. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwt053. Epub 2013 Jul 2.

The impact of long-term body mass index patterns on health-related quality of life: the Doetinchem Cohort Study.

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Centre for Nutrition, Prevention, and Health Services, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, the Netherlands.


Overweight is associated with a reduced health-related quality of life (QOL), but less is known about the impact of long-term body mass index (BMI, calculated as weight (kg)/height (m)(2)) patterns on QOL in adults. In the Dutch Doetinchem Cohort Study (1989-2009) that included 1,677 men and 1,731 women aged 20-66 years, 6 BMI patterns were defined by using 4 measurements over a 15-year period: 1) persistent healthy weight (18.5-24.9, reference pattern); 2) persistent overweight (25.0-29.9); 3) persistent obesity (≥30.0); 4) developing overweight; 5) developing obesity; and 6) switching between BMI categories. For each BMI pattern, adjusted QOL (measured on a 0-100 scale) was estimated at the end of this period. The lowest QOL was observed for persistent obesity of all BMI patterns. It was 5.0 points (P = 0.02) lower for 1 mental dimension in men and 6.2-11.6 points (P < 0.05) lower for 5 (mainly physical) dimensions in women. Developing overweight or obesity scored 1.8-6.3 points (P < 0.05) lower on 2-5 (mainly physical) dimensions. Persistent overweight hardly differed from a persistent healthy weight. In women, switching between BMI categories resulted in a lower QOL on the mental dimensions. Studying long-term BMI patterns over a 15-year period showed that persistent obesity, developing overweight, and developing obesity resulted in a lower QOL-particularly on the physical dimensions-compared with a persistent healthy weight.


adult; body mass index; longitudinal studies; quality of life

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