Obesity

Overcome Depression to Treat Obesity – Vice Versa

Obesity and depression have always been found to co-exist.  In fact many experts feel that they tend to feed off each other creating a vicious cycle.  In some cases, obesity causes depression and in other cases depression causes obesity.  Though the relationship between the two is still a subject of research, several clinical studies have found that people who overcome depression lose weight and people who lose weight can better overcome depression.

The social stigma and isolation associated with obesity as well as self-esteem issues are a few of the main causes of depression in this group of people.  According to Researchers at the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle, WA being obese increases the risk of developing depression by 50 to150 percent and seems to be more prevalent in women then in men.  Their research has uncovered a real relationship between obesity, physical activity and depression.  The results of this study are published in the November/December 2010 issue of General Hospital Psychiatry.

 Research Findings:

  • These researchers studied 203 women belonging to the age group 40 to 65 years with an average body mass index (BMI) of 38.3.
  • Body weight, physical activity, depression scores and food intake of these women were tracked.
  • The participants were divided into two groups.  One group tried to lose weight only while the other treated both excess weight and depression.
  • As a part of the study, the participants attended 26 group sessions for a year with their progress being followed at the end of 6, 12 and 24 months respectively.
  • The study found that weight loss was most significant during the first six months.
  • For the 38 percent of the women whose depression score was reduced by one-half point they lost 5 percent of their body weight.
  • Only 21 percent of the women lost the same five percent of weight but had no rise or fall in the score of their depression.

The researchers at the Group Health Cooperative in Seattle, WA were the first to report that there is a two-way nexus of obesity and depression in middle-aged women. Their study results were published in the January/February 2008 issue of General Hospital Psychiatry.

According to the outcome of the research it is no question that among middle-aged women, there is a strong correlation between depression, obesity and lower levels of physical activity.  The message here is that weight programs as well as bariatric physicians should pay special attention to the mental state of the patient as well as the physical state.  Further research is focused on better understanding the role of obesity to overcome depression and vice-versa.

References

How Overcoming Depression Can Lead to Weight Loss in Women:http://www.instah.com/obesity/how-overcoming-depression-can-lead-to-weight-loss-in-women/

Association between obesity and depression in middle-aged women: http://www.cfah.org/hbns/archives/viewSupportDoc.cfm?supportingDocID=521

Obesity and depression are a two-way street: http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/03/04/us-obesity-depression-idUSTRE6234RF20100304

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