Obesity causes depression; but thin men prone to it too

Image Kaiser Health News

This is a Creative Commons story from The Lead South Australia, a news service providing stories about innovation in South Australia.

Previous reports have suggested that while obesity has doubled in the United Kingdom since 1990s, number of people using anti-depressants tripled.

Greg Pavela, Ph.D.Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, in collaboration with researchers at Indiana University-Bloomington, have received an R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the association between obesity and longevity and why some people are more susceptible to the health consequences of obesity compared to others.

Researchers in Australia and the United Kingdom have found the strongest evidence yet linking obesity and depression, even in the absence of other health problems.

They analyzed data from nearly 50 thousand people who suffer from depression with the control group, in which there were about 300 thousand people. This suggests that higher BMI causes depression both with and without related health issues.

They separated out the psychological component of obesity from the impact of obesity related health problems, using genes associated with higher BMI but lower risk of diseases like diabetes.

Elina Hypponen, the study's lead author in UniSA, said that her team took a genomic approach to the study.

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The research is published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

"The current global obesity epidemic is very concerning", Prof Hypponen says.

"Alongside depression, the two are estimated to cost the global community trillions of dollars each year".

The study was used information of the UK Biobank is a long-term programme, which involves more than 500 thousand citizens.

Focusing on the 73 genetic variants, and taking into account factors including age and sex, they found that for every 4.7-point increase in BMI, the odds of being depressed increased by 18% overall, and by 23% among women.

Obesity is classified as a BMI greater than 30 kg/m², with BMI calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height, in metres squared.

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