Document Type

Capstone Experience

Graduation Date


Degree Name

Master of Public Health



First Committee Member

Anthony Blake

Second Committee Member

Dr. Patrick Maloney

Third Committee Member

Dr. Kolm-Valdivia



This study investigated the link between frequent mental distress (FMD) and body mass index (BMI) in 2021 among U.S. adults, while considering sociodemographic and lifestyle factors.


Using 2021 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data, we analyzed the association between BMI as the dependent variable and FMD as the independent variable, considering the sociodemographic factors and lifestyle variables. Logistic regression models were applied.


In our sample, 30.7% had a normal BMI, while 69.3% were outside the normal range. Of these, 85.1% reported infrequent mental distress, whereas 14.9% reported FMD. Those with FMD were more likely to have an abnormal BMI (70.7%) compared to those without FMD (69.1%, p=0.0016).


The multivariate analysis in the study shows that there is a statistically significant association between BMI (Body Mass Index) and FMD (Frequent Mental Distress) among the U.S. adults, even after adjusting for various sociodemographic and lifestyle factors. The findings highlight the necessity of integrating mental health considerations into obesity interventions and stress the importance of further research to understand this relationship better. Public health initiatives should emphasize mental well-being and stress management to help address the obesity crisis in the U.S.

Available for download on Friday, December 06, 2024

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