Depression May Contribute to Becoming Obese

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Recent research conducted at the University of Alabama at Birmingham suggests that depression may be a contributing factor in obesity, as well as the development of medical conditions associated with obesity.

Using data from the CARDIA study (the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults), the scientists were looking to see if there was a connection between an increase in depression and a person’s body mass index. They also wanted to determine if BMI and waist measurement changes were associated with depression. There were over 5100 participants in the CARDIA study including both men and women, ranging in age between 18 and 30.

The researchers discovered that over the course of 15 years, those young adults who reported having a high degree of depression put on weight more quickly, particularly abdominal fat, than other participants. The BMI of those individuals also increased faster. However, the level of depression didn’t change for participants who were overweight to begin with. During that time period everyone in the study gained weight.

While more research is needed, these findings suggest that treating depression may help control obesity. The study is available in the June publication of the American Journal of Public Health.

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