A recent study published by the BMJ used a research technique called Mendelian randomization to determine if whether poor mental health and wellbeing can lead to poor physical health or whether poor physical health can lead to poor mental health and wellbeing. It’s a chicken and egg scenario. Using this technique has allowed researchers to determine that there is “a consistent causal effect of higher BMI on lower mental wellbeing.”
In other words, an individual’s level of overall happiness and satisfaction in life is consistent with his or her BMI. The higher the BMI, the lower the mental wellbeing. Satisfaction in life is based on more than an individual’s health and weight, and so the Mendelian randomization technique helps researchers rule out other factors that cause physical and mental wellbeing. Along with the body mass index, the study utilized 11 factors of physical health, including heart attack, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and coronary artery disease, but only BMI showed a causal link to low mental wellbeing.
As for low mental well-being being a factor in any of the 11 health traits (including BMI), the researchers found a minimal causal effect in that direction.
Assessing Your Own Body Mass Index
Your body mass index, or BMI, is one of the first measurements that healthcare professionals use to determine the amount of fat in your body. A BMI range of 18.5 to 24.9 is in the normal or healthy zone. A healthy BMI can appear differently on a range of body types. If your BMI is higher than 30, you are considered obese and may be a candidate for bariatric surgery. Weight-loss surgery can significantly increase your chances of achieving long-term health and reducing or eliminating type 2 diabetes and the risk of heart disease. If you’re interested in a weight-loss procedure, please fill out our patient questionnaire to get started.