A large scale new study provides further evidence that being overweight causes depression and lowers well being and indicates both social and physical factors may play a role in the effect.
With one in four adults estimated to be obese in the UK, and growing numbers of children affected, obesity is a global health challenge. While the dangers of being obese on physical health is well known, researchers are now discovering that being overweight can also have a significant impact on mental health.
The new study, published in Human Molecular Genetics, sought to investigate why a body of evidence now indicates that higher BMI causes depression. The team used genetic analysis, known as Mendelian Randomization, to examine whether the causal link is the result of psychosocial pathways, such as societal influences and social stigma, or physical pathways, such as metabolic conditions linked to higher BMI. Such conditions include high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.