Background

Obesity is a risk factor for many health issues, as are metabolic abnormalities; all may affect mental health and one’s health-related quality of life. We investigated the associations between combined obesity/metabolic status and the mental health and quality of life of a Korean population.

Methods

We used data from the 2016 Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a cross-sectional survey of Korean civilians. Data from 6,057 participants were analyzed. Obesity subtypes were classified as normal weight without any metabolic abnormality (metabolically healthy normal weight [MHNO]), obesity without any metabolic abnormality (metabolically healthy but obese [MHO]), normal weight with a metabolic abnormality (metabolically unhealthy but of normal weight [MUNO]), and obesity with a metabolic abnormality (metabolically unhealthy and obese [MUO]). Quality of life was assessed using the EuroQol five-dimensional instrument.

Results

MHO subgroup was positively associated with motility problems, pain/discomfort, and stress compared to the MHNO group (adjusted odds ratio [aOR]: 1.43, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.01–2.04; aOR: 1.35, 95% CI: 1.06–1.73; and aOR: 1.27, 95% CI: 1.05–1.54, respectively). MUO status was positively associated with problems in terms of mobility, self-care, usual activities, and pain/discomfort and improper sleep duration, and stress compared to the MHNO group. The EuroQol five-dimension indices of the MHO and MUO groups were significantly lower than those of the MHNO group (1.032 ± 0.101 and 1.023 ± 0.101 vs. 1.042 ± 0.097, p = 0.011 and < 0.001, respectively).

Conclusions

obesity is associated with mental symptoms and the decreased quality of life, and obesity with metabolic abnormalities is more related to quality of life and mental symptoms.