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Obesity does cause depression, asserts new study

Obesity does cause depression, asserts new study

Obesity does cause depression, asserts a new study.

Researchers at the University of South Australia and the University of Exeter in the UK have found the strongest evidence that obesity causes depression, even in the absence of other health problems. The new study shows that the psychological impact of being overweight causes depression, rather than associated illnesses such as diabetes.

The study has appeared in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

Obese individuals are classified as people with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30 kg/m². BMI is calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height, in meters squared

Researchers looked at UK Biobank data from more than 48,000 people with depression, comparing them with a control group of more than 290,000 people born between 1938 and 1971, who provided medical and genetic information.In the study hospital data and self-reporting were used to determine whether people had depression.

Director of the Australian Centre for Precision Health, UniSA Professor Elina Hypponen, who co-led the study, said: “We separated the psychological component of obesity* from the impact of obesity-related health problems using genes associated with higher body mass index (BMI), but with the lower risk of diseases like diabetes,”.

“These genes were just as strongly associated with depression as those genes associated with higher BMI and diabetes. This suggests that being overweight causes depression both with and without related health issues – particularly in women.”

At the other ends of the BMI spectrum, very thin men are more prone to depression than either men of normal weight or very thin women.

“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.

“Our research shows that being overweight doesn’t just increase the risks of chronic diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease; it can also lead to depression,” Prof Hypponen says.

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Source: With inputs from International Journal of Epidemiology

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