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Body Weight Predicts Risk for Depressive Symptoms

J Affect Disord; ePub 2019 Mar 5; Vittengl

Body weight, but not height, predicted concurrent risk for depressive symptomatology in the US, according to a recent study. Data were analyzed from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey years 2007-2016, focusing on adults aged ≥20. In this nationally-representative sample (n=23,739), relations of depressive symptoms with body shape variables were tested, controlling for age, gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Researchers found:

  • Body weight and body mass index (BMI), but not standing height, predicted depressive symptoms.
  • Adults with relatively high body weight or BMI (roughly the top 30-40% of women or 10% of men) had substantively elevated depressive symptoms within genders.
  • BMI ranges predicting elevated depressive symptoms among women (BMI ≥30) and men (BMI ≥36) were higher than standard overweight and obesity definitions, respectively.


Vittengl. Which body shape dimensions and sizes predict depression? [Published online ahead of print March 5, 2019]. J Affect Disord. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2019.03.032.