Does a Dramatic Increase in Obesity Lead to More Stress and Depression of the U.S. Working Population?

Haeil Jung, Indiana University, Bloomington
Chaeyoung Chang, Indiana University, Bloomington

Using the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data, this study comprehensively examines the association between obesity and mental/ physical health of the US working population (aged 20 to 55) from 1993 to 2010. Rather than specific and objective clinical instrument, this study uses the self-reported general health measures (the number of bad mental health days and the number of bad physical health days) to assess the individual’s health related quality of life. We find that mental and physical health has deteriorated between 1993 and 2010. This is more prominent for low income and less educated adults. Also, white and black adults have more days of bad mental and physical health over recent decades. The negative association between obesity and mental health has become stronger between 1993 and 2010, especially for low income as well as white and Hispanic female adults. However, obesity is weakly related to general physical health.

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Presented in Poster Session 4