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Subjective Wellbeing and Cardiometabolic Health

BMJ; ePub 2018 Sep 25; Wootton, et al

Higher body mass index (BMI) is associated with lower subjective wellbeing, a recent study concluded. The mendelian randomized study used genetic data taken from various cohort comprised of the general population. Summary data were used from previous genome wide association studies (number of participants ranged from 83,198 to 339,224) which investigated traits related to cardiovascular or metabolic health. The primary outcome was subjective wellbeing and 11 measures of cardiometabolic health (coronary artery disease; myocardial infarction; total, high density lipoprotein, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol; diastolic and systolic blood pressure; body fat; waist to hip ratio; waist circumference; and BMI). A follow-up analysis included 337,112 individuals from the UK Biobank. Researchers found:

  • Evidence of a casual effect of BMI on wellbeing was observed; each 1 kg/m2 increase in BMI caused a ‒0.045 standard deviation reduction in subjective wellbeing.
  • Follow-up analysis confirmed this finding, suggesting that the effect in middle-aged persons could be driven by satisfaction with health.
  • There was no clear evidence of a casual association between subjective wellbeing and any other measure of cardiometabolic health.


Wootton RE, Lawn RB, Millard LAC, et al. Evaluation of the casual effects between subjective wellbeing and cardiometabolic health: mendelian randomization study. [Published online ahead of print September 25, 2018]. BMJ. doi:10.1136/bmj.k3788.