There is an increasing need to prevent obesity because of the consequences for mental as well as physical health, new research by academics at the University of Bristol has found.
Previous studies have shown that individuals who are happier and more satisfied with their lives tend to have better physical health and live longer than those who have lower mental wellbeing.
Using a technique called Mendelian randomization, the researchers asked whether poorer physical health causes lower mental wellbeing, or whether individuals with lower mental wellbeing are more likely to go on to have later problems with their physical health.
This technique provides evidence of the direction of causation by using genetic variants that have been associated with physical health and mental wellbeing.
Unlike previous methods, this technique helps to rule out the influence of other factors that might be causing both physical health and mental wellbeing.
Results suggested a consistent causal effect of higher BMI on lower mental wellbeing.
There was little evidence that the other physical health traits were leading to less happiness and life satisfaction. »