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Health & Families

Being too fat or thin messes with your well-being

According to a new poll conducted in the United States between January and September 14, having a body mass index (BMI) that is not normal ups your likelihood of depression and other negative feelings.

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index published its findings on September 17 and noted obese and underweight Americans are more stressed, worried, angry and sad than their overweight and normal weight peers.

The survey included 250,000 interviews and the data is based on "self-reported" emotions as well as height and weight. BMI denoted obesity (30+), overweight (25-29.9), normal weight (18.5-24.9) and underweight (-18.5).

Those battling obesity (23.2 percent) were more likely to be diagnosed with depression than those who were underweight (19.1 percent). However underweight Americans polled topped all of the other categories signifying poor emotional well-being.

Interestingly, the too thin group was happier than the obese but experienced less enjoyment.

Those with a BMI (normal weight) fared the best in all categories. To calculate your BMI you can use this formula: BMI = your weight in kilograms/ (height in meters x height in meters)

Or use an online BMI calculator, here is one via US-based health resource MayoClinic.com that allows you to also calculate a child's BMI: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/bmi-calculator/NU00597

Individuals who have overcome or support those battling eating disorders like anorexia nervosa have found the problem has little to with the food and more about underlying mental and emotional problems.

Here are some warning signs to spot mental illness in addition to the more obvious too high/low BMI: http://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/mental-illness-overview/warning-signs/menu-id-198/

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index: http://www.well-beingindex.com/