Evidence of a biological link between overweight, obesity and depression remains uncertain and complex, but several theories have been proposed, the authors note. Obesity may be considered an inflammatory state, and inflammation is associated with the risk of depression. Because thinness is considered a beauty ideal in both the United States and Europe, being overweight or obese may contribute to body dissatisfaction and low self-esteem that places individuals at risk for depression. Conversely, depression may increase weight over time through interference with the endocrine system or the adverse effects of antidepressant medication.

The findings are important for clinical practice, the authors note. "Because weight gain appears to be a late consequence of depression, care providers should be aware that within depressive patients weight should be monitored. In overweight or obese patients, mood should be monitored. This awareness could lead to prevention, early detection and co-treatment for the ones at risk, which could ultimately reduce the burden of both conditions," they conclude.(Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2010;67[3]:220-229. Available pre-embargo to the media at www.jamamedia.)

SOURCE Archives of General Psychiatry