A new study in the July issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, says that obese people are not jolly and are in fact more prone to depression. The study on more than 9,000 adults found that obese persons were at a 25 percent increased risk of developing mood and anxiety disorders including, depression.
"Understanding the connection between obesity and depression is an important public health issue because both of these conditions are so common and have a significant impact on our health care systems," said lead researcher Greg Simon, MD, MPH, a Group Health psychiatrist.
The researchers conducted in-person interviews with 9,125 people between February 2001, and February 2003, while the diagnosis of mental disorders was made using a World Health Organization diagnostic interview. The researchers found that subjects having a body mass index, of 30 or higher were found to be 25% more likely than those with a BMI under 30 to have a mood disorder.
In participants having a post-secondary education and higher incomes, the risk of obesity and depression was as high as 44 percent. "Perhaps in groups where obesity is less socially normative, it's less acceptable and that's why there's a greater association with depression," Dr Simon said. "But in groups where it is less stigmatized, obesity doesn't seem to be as depressing".
The researchers said that the next step was to probe further into this link.