Individuals with obesity are more likely to report poor physical, emotional and social functioning compared to those within a healthy BMI range. There has been little research, however, in a multi-ethnic Southeast Asian population.


Patient records were collected from the weight management clinic at the National University Hospital, Singapore between 2005 and 2018. Responses to the 36-Item Short Form Survey (SF-36) and the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), were collected and analysed. Ethnicity was classified as 'Chinese', 'Malay', 'Indian', and 'Other'. Data analysis was conducted using SPSS Statistical Software Version (142). p-value of <0.05 was considered statistically significant.


Patients with higher BMI reported higher overall scores on the PHQ-9. Lower ages were associated with higher overall scores on the PHQ-9. Males were 33.7% less likely to report higher scores. Compared to Other patients, Chinese patients were 29.8%, 33.3%, and 35.3% less likely to report higher scores on apathy, low self-esteem, and feeling depressed, respectively.Lower BMI was associated with higher scores on all components of the SF-36. Male patients were 44.6%, and 68.6% more likely to score higher components of emotional function and emotional well-being, respectively. Male patients were 53.2% and 46.4% more likely to score higher on social function and energy level, respectively.


In Southeast Asian patients with obesity, increasing BMI suggests a higher reported score on questionnaires relating to emotional well-being. Quality of life improves with decreasing BMI.