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Weight Loss More Difficult When Depressed


If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, you know that it can be very challenging. But for those who also have untreated depression, losing weight is much more difficult according to a recent study published in General Hospital Psychiatry. The University of Washington research team also discovered that people who are overweight are much more likely to be depressed than their normal weight peers.

The study, led by Gregory Simon, M.D., involved 203 obese females between 40 and 60. They were monitored over a 12-month period. All of the participants had depressive symptoms and a BMI (body mass index) over 30.

The women were divided into two groups – one group focused solely on weight loss, and the other group focused on weight loss while the depressive symptoms were treated.

The researchers discovered that there was a close correlation between depression and lack of exercise, although they were unable to determine whether or not and to what degree the depression was a result of the obesity and vice versa. Also, physical activity increased when the depressive symptoms improved, and vice versa.

The women whose depressive symptoms had improved after 6 months were more likely to lose weight than those whose depressive symptoms remained the same at the 6 month point. Also, those who received treatment for their depression maintained their weight loss at both 12 months and 24 months.

According to the findings of this study, weight loss programs would likely be more successful if the screening and treatment of depressive symptoms were part of the program.

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