How are Depression and Obesity Linked?

Jerry Kennard Health Pro
  • The relationship between obesity and depression has always been a contentious issue. Mood states like depression are known to be associated with diet and they are also known to be associated with increased risk of heart disease. Recent research suggests the relationship between depression and obesity is actually a two-way street. Obesity seems to lead to depression and depression seems to lead to obesity.


    The March issue of Archives of General Psychiatry reports that obese people have a 55 percent increased risk of developing depression, whereas depressed people have a 58 percent increased risk of becoming obese. Further analysis revealed a stronger association among Americans than Europeans.

    Add This Infographic to Your Website or Blog With This Code:


    Because depression and obesity independently carry an increased risk of cardiac disease there has been interest for some time in the relationship, if any, between the two conditions. The authors of this particular study examined the results of 15 previously published studies involving nearly 59,000 participants.


    It remains unclear as to the exact relationship between obesity and depression. For people with depression obesity appears to follow as a long-term consequence. This increases the health risk for the person as well as adding an additional burden of body dissatisfaction. Body dissatisfaction and low-esteem are also factors that can lead to depression. In either case, the treatment for depression can in itself lead to adverse weight gain as a result of antidepressant use.



    Luppino F.S., de Wit L.M., Bouvy P.F., Stijen T., Cuijpers P., Pennix B.W.J.H., Zitman F. G (2010) Overweight, Obesity and Depression: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Longitudinal Studies. Archive of General Psychiatry, 67 (3) 220-29.

Published On: April 07, 2010