Every thought that why most of the obese people are stressed? How about someone tells you that the psychological effects of being obese can lead to depression? And this may happen without having any other weight-related problem.
The new research by the research team from the University of South Australia and the University of Exeter in the UK investigates this matter.
The link between obesity and depression has been popular for ages but it is so uncertain and complex. The findings of this research are now published in the International Journal of Epidemiology and are available to view online.
As per this study, the team has found evidence that a higher body mass index (BMI) can lead to depression. The research team used a genetic approach to testing the relationship between these two factors.
The data in this research is taken from the UK Biobank. It is a database that contains a total of 500,000 people. In this database, more than 48,000 people met the criteria as depressed persons, proven by their hospital records or self-reports.
The team then looked at 73 genetic variants that are associated with high BMI and also have la ink with other health problems such as heart disease and diabetes. For all these genetic linked characteristics, the risk of depression elevated with biological as well as psychological mechanisms.
The researchers also studied 14 more genetic variants that have links with high-fat content of the body but are not associated with any other health problem. Surprisingly, all these variants also showed la ink with depression but this depression was psychologically originated.
The team members of this research explain that they separated the psychological component of obesity from all the possible impacts of obesity-related health problems. the method that they used was to identify genes associated with higher body mass index (BMI), but have a lower risk of all other diseases. This separation of psychological and physiological components of BMI-Depression became this study more clear.
The results show that all these genes are strongly linked with depression. This is the same as those genes are associated with higher BMI and diabetes. It suggests that being overweight causes depression irrespective of the related health issues and this is more common in woman. Men that are very thin are also more prone to depression in comparison with men of normal weight or very thin women.
But this research is not as simple as it looks. The data of all these people that are a part of this study were born in the UK between 1938 and 1971. It is not necessary that all these results will replicate on younger people or those who are born at other countries.
Furthermore, the authors of this study also tell that the definition of depression was not the same as many of the self reported cases may have a differential diagnosis. Nonetheless, this research work adds information to our common understanding that obesity, irrespective of causing depression or not is a public health problem. There must be a proper administration and control of all such cases.
For now, the global obesity epidemic is alarming and a huge health concern. In any way, depression and obesity both cause a loss the global community in the form trillions of dollars spent on healthcare each year.