Researchers in Australia has for the first time discovered a direct link between obesity and mental illness.
University of Tasmania researchers studied data collected from 1,135 girls in 1985, and again 20 years later, and found "persistent obesity" was linked to the mood disorder, reports English.news.cn.
"Overweight or obese girls who were able to attain a healthy weight when they were an adult, they didn't have an increased risk of depression," lead researcher Kristy Sanderson said on Monday.
"It was only overweight girls who became obese women ... they had twice the risk of depression, so it was quite a strong effect, " he said.
"If they're overweight for a long period of time, because we're talking about 20 years here, they've got all of that exposure to negative self image, low self esteem."
Senderson said the researchers do not see the same effect in boys or men, that is because men do not internalize negative body imagine in the way women do.