Body Mass Index Higher Than 30 Might Cause Depression, Especially In Women

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A new study shows that the body mass index (BMI), when greater than 30, is associated with a higher risk of depression. A team from the University of South Australia and the University of Exeter, in the United Kingdom, studied the cases of more than 48,000 people suffering from depression and belonging to the UK Biobank database. This large, long-term study provided access to genomic data for British residents aged between 37 and 73.

The researchers also formed a control group of 290,000 people born between 1938 and 1971. Using this information, they analyzed genes associated with higher BMI and lower risk of diseases such as diabetes to determine whether obesity-related health problems were responsible for depression. The association appears to be more significant in women than in men.

Obesity is defined by a BMI higher than 30 kg/sqm, as the BMI is calculated by dividing the weight in kilograms by the height in square metres. On the other hand, the researchers noted that underweight men (with a low BMI) are more prone to depression than those of healthy weight or than very thin women. However, higher BMI causes depression, especially in women.

Body Mass Index Higher Than 30 Might Cause Depression, Especially In Women

“The current obesity epidemic is very worrying. With depression, it costs the international community an estimated $1 trillion each year,”┬ásays Professor Elina Hypponen, who co-led this new study. “Our research shows that overweight not only increases the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular problems, but it can also lead to depression,” she added.

The study is not the first to establish a link between BMI and depression. By 2016, researchers have already concluded that a woman with a BMI between 30 and 35 is by 100 percent exposed to risks of depression in comparison to a woman with an average weight. Researchers at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, in the United States, presented results last year suggesting that women with high BMI also had a higher risk of postpartum depression.

A Dutch study presented at the 2017 European Congress on Obesity also suggested that overweight children between 8 and 13 years of age were three times more likely to fall into a depression later in there life.