Obesity and depression

By Canada Cloud Pharmacy | Published Thursday 07 January 2021

Obesity is dramatically on the rise in many countries across the globe. Abnormal and excess accumulation of fat in the body in addition to the increased size and number of fat cells result in obesity.

The health complications associated with obesity are diabetes, heart diseases, high cholesterol, cancer, and sleep disorders. Some studies also show a link between obesity and depression and both seem to influence each other. 

What are the causes of obesity?

Doctors measure the body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference to diagnose obesity. Bodyweight in pounds divided by square of height in inches multiplied by 703 gives BMI. BMI of 30 or more indicates obesity. Energy imbalance in the body leads to obesity. The following are the common causes of obesity:

•    Poor diet
•    Lack of physical activity
•    Genetic conditions
•    Medical conditions
•    Certain medicines  

Is there an association between obesity and depression?

Obesity and depression often coexist. Several studies indicate that there are chances that many people with obesity also suffer from depression or are at a greater risk of having depression. Similarly, many people who have depression have more chances of weight gain. Some findings suggest that a few genetic factors responsible for higher BMI are also responsible for depression.

What factors link obesity and depression?

Several studies indicate the link between obesity and depression. Researchers suggest several reasons for the association. Depression may lead to obesity due to the following reasons:

•    People with depression are less concerned about taking good care of their health. This includes not eating proper food or remaining inactive. These factors ultimately lead to weight gain.
•    Unresolved psychological problems may affect your behavior to an extent that you may eat more or make unhealthy choices that result in obesity.
•    Medication used to treat depression is often a leading cause of weight gain.

Obesity may be one of the factors that contribute to psychological problems such as depression. Here are some probable reasons:
•    Some genetic variants cause BMI to increase, the same set of variants also increases the chances of having depression. 
•    In a world where thinness is related to beauty, being overweight puts you through psychological stress that may eventually result in depression.
•    Some stressful events in life due to obesity (ex. bullying or teasing) may lead to psychological impact resulting in depression.
•    Some scientists consider obesity as an inflammatory state. Obesity may control inflammatory pathways and these pathways may lead to depression. 
•    There is also a hormonal connection between obesity and depression. Dysregulation of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is one of the causes of depression.
•    Obesity may cause conditions such as diabetes, insulin resistance that alter the functioning of the brain, causing depression.

Both obesity and depression have a mutual effect on each other. Although the treatment plans for both the conditions vary, some common strategies may help. 

•    Stay physically active. Make a daily fitness plan and follow it.
•    Talk to your therapist regarding your emotional problems and you may find ways to deal with depression.
•    Follow your treatment plans strictly and never stop your medication without consulting a doctor.
Both obesity and depression are major health concerns worldwide. Both conditions affect the quality of life negatively. Healthy food choices, regular physical activity, sound sleep, and regular follow-up with the therapist will help you have a healthy body and healthy mind.


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