'Strongest evidence yet' that being obese causes depression

Just Being Overweight Can Lead To Depression Try These Foods To Manage Weight

According to the researchers, this is a result of the psychological impact of being overweight.

"These genes were just as strongly associated with depression as those genes associated with higher BMI and diabetes", Professor Hypponen said.

Employees of the Institute of South Australia, together with colleagues from the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom used a genomic approach to study.

They analyzed data from nearly 50 thousand people who suffer from depression with the control group, in which there were about 300 thousand people.

A person is considered obese if they are more than 20 percent over their ideal weight.

There were 73 genetic variants studied over this period and it showed 49,000 participants suffered from depression.

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They separated out the psychological component of obesity from the impact of obesity related health problems, using genes associated with higher BMI but lower risk of diseases like diabetes.

To identify the relationship the researchers used data of UK Biobank, which stores information about 500 thousands people.

At the other ends of the BMI spectrum, very thin men are more prone to depression than men of normal weight or very thin women. The results held even when they carried out additional tests, such as excluding individuals with a family history of depression, and when the analysis was repeated on data from a large worldwide project called the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium.

The study has some limitations: it primarily looked at individuals with white European ancestry, and involved some self-reported data. "It allows [one] to infer that bigger effects in BMI would have bigger effects on depression", he said.

Dutch research presented at the European Congress on Obesity in 2017 also suggested that children who were overweight at age 8 or 13 had more than triple the risk of developing major depression at some point later in life.

While it has always been known that depression is more common in obesity, the team concluded that higher body mass index (BMI) can cause depression in itself, even in the absence of other health problems.

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