Being overweight can cause depression

Being overweight can cause depression

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High BMI as a risk factor for depression

In the course of a study, an international research team recognized a strong connection between overweight and depression. Even if there are no further health problems, a high body mass index (BMI) can promote the development of depression.

Researchers from the University of South Australia worked with the University of Exeter to investigate the psychological effects of being overweight. Although it has long been observed that an increased number of depression disorders occur among people with obesity, the current study provides the first evidence that a higher BMI can be regarded as a risk factor for the development of depression. The study results were recently published in the "International Journal of Epidemiology".

Huge amounts of data provided the evidence

The team analyzed British biobank data from more than 48,000 people with depression. The researchers were able to show that a higher BMI is also associated with an increased occurrence of depression. This was regardless of whether there were other diseases that were often associated with obesity, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. According to the research team, completely healthy people with an increased BMI also showed an increased susceptibility to depression.

High BMI as a risk factor for depression

The researchers come to the conclusion that a higher BMI can be seen as a risk factor for the development of depression regardless of the associated health problems. According to the scientists, this effect was even more pronounced in women than in men.

Two global health problems complement each other

"Obesity and depression are both global health problems that have a significant impact on people's lives and cause high costs in healthcare," explains Dr. Jess Tyrrell of the University of Exeter in a press release on the study results. The connection has long been suspected. However, it was unclear whether obesity causes depression or vice versa. It was also unclear whether being overweight triggers depression or the associated health problems, said Tyrrell.

Depression as a psychological impact of being overweight

“Based on our robust genetic analysis, we come to the conclusion that the psychological effects of obesity can cause depression,” summarizes Dr. Tyrrell. This finding is important in order to be able to act more specifically against depression. Both diseases feed each other, which makes it much more difficult for those affected to adopt healthy living habits.

How much does being overweight increase your risk of depression?

The research team's gene analysis showed that overweight men were 18 percent more likely to develop depression. In overweight women, the risk of depression increased by as much as 23 percent. (vb)

Author and source information

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