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The Link Between Depression and Obesity

Depressions and obesity are two complex health issues. Much research has been conducted on the connection between the two, and it may come to no surprise to you that the two conditions often occur together.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 10 Americans suffers from depression (Source: everyday health). Of those people diagnosed with depression, 43% were also identified as obese. Obesity is defined by the CDC as a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than or equal to 30

Studies tell us that the combination of obesity and depression is dangerous: potentially resulting in multiple health risks such as diabetes, heart disease, and limited mobility (Source: CDC.gov).

But what is the relationship between depression and obesity? Does one ultimately cause the other? Researchers have yet to conclude on the potential “chicken or the egg” debate, but there are persuasive arguments for both.

Here are what studies have found:

How obesity is related to depression:

  • Poor body image.
  • Low self-esteem.
  • Social isolation (feeling ostracized or stereotyped).
  • Physical pain caused by carrying extra weight.
  • Medical complications from being overweight (ex. Diabetes or metabolic syndrome).

How depression is related to obesity:

  • Overeating as a coping mechanism.
  • Lack of motivation nor desire for exercise or physical activity.
  • Depression medications can cause weight gain (Source: Mayo Clinic).

Regardless of which comes first…

Getting help for depression and obesity is important to both physical and mental wellness. Furthermore, taking care of one, may have a positive impact on the other. Seeking clinical expertise can help with the symptoms of depression while a primary physician and dietician can get you on the right track toward weight loss.

Horizon Health Services offers help for people dealing with depression, dysthymia and other mental health disorders. If you or someone you love is experiencing any symptoms of depression and live in the Western New York area, please contact us. We can help.
(716) 831-1800