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'Strongest evidence yet' that being obese causes depression

Date:
November 12, 2018
Source:
University of South Australia
Summary:
New research has found the strongest evidence yet that obesity causes depression, even in the absence of other health problems.
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New research released today from the University of South Australia and University of Exeter in the UK has found the strongest evidence yet that obesity causes depression, even in the absence of other health problems.

The research, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, shows that the psychological impact of being overweight causes depression, rather than associated illnesses such as diabetes.

Researchers looked at UK Biobank data from more than 48,000 people with depression, comparing them with a control group of more than 290,000 people born between 1938 and 1971, who provided medical and genetic information.

Hospital data and self-reporting were used to determine whether people had depression.

Director of the Australian Centre for Precision Health, UniSA Professor Elina Hypponen, who co-led the study, said the team took a genomic approach to their research.

"We separated the psychological component of obesity from the impact of obesity-related health problems using genes associated with higher body mass index (BMI), but with lower risk of diseases like diabetes," Prof Hypponen says.

"These genes were just as strongly associated with depression as those genes associated with higher BMI and diabetes. This suggests that being overweight causes depression both with and without related health issues -- particularly in women"

At the other ends of the BMI spectrum, very thin men are more prone to depression that either men of normal weight or very thin women.

"The current global obesity epidemic is very concerning," Prof Hypponen says. "Alongside depression, the two are estimated to cost the global community trillions of dollars each year.

"Our research shows that being overweight doesn't just increase the risks of chronic diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease; it can also lead to depression," Prof Hypponen says.


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Materials provided by University of South Australia. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jessica Tyrrell Anwar Mulugeta Andrew R Wood Ang Zhou Robin N Beaumont Marcus A Tuke Samuel E Jones Katherine S Ruth Hanieh Yaghootkar Seth Sharp William D Thompson Yingjie Ji Jamie Harrison Rachel M Freathy Anna Murray Michael N Weedon Cathryn Lewis Timothy M Frayling Elina Hyppönen. Using genetics to understand the causal influence of higher BMI on depression. International Journal of Epidemiology, 2018 DOI: 10.1093/ije/dyy223

Cite This Page:

University of South Australia. "'Strongest evidence yet' that being obese causes depression." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 November 2018. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/11/181112095951.htm>.
University of South Australia. (2018, November 12). 'Strongest evidence yet' that being obese causes depression. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2024 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/11/181112095951.htm
University of South Australia. "'Strongest evidence yet' that being obese causes depression." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/11/181112095951.htm (accessed April 21, 2024).

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