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Depression: Depression & Related Conditions

Overweight in Childhood May Up Lifetime Risk of Depression

HealthDay News

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FRIDAY, May 19, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Overweight or obesity in youth may have long-lasting repercussions for psychological health, according to a study presented at the European Congress on Obesity, held from May 17 to 20 in Porto, Portugal.

Deborah Gibson-Smith, a Ph.D. student at the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, and colleagues used data from 889 Icelanders born between 1907 and 1935. Data on height and weight were collected between 1924 and 1944, when study participants were 8 years old. Participants in a 2002 to 2006 follow-up study were 75 years old, on average. The data were adjusted for age and sex at the time of the body mass index measurements.

The researchers found that 39 people were diagnosed as ever having major depression. Excess weight in childhood was found to be a stronger predictor of later depression than being overweight in midlife. When compared with normal-weight children who become overweight adults, the risk of lifetime major depressive disorder was more than four times greater for individuals who were overweight or obese in both childhood and adulthood, the investigators reported.

"Childhood overweight is a stronger predictor of subsequent major depressive disorder than being overweight in mid-life," the authors write. "Being overweight in both child- and adulthood compared to being normal weight increases the odds of lifetime major depressive disorder."

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