Impact of Body Mass Index on Adolescent Depression
A new study shows that children with a high body mass index are more likely to suffer depression during adolescence.
The biggest impact was being overweight between the ages of 12 and 16, as they experienced symptoms such as low mood and fatigue until their late teens.
The experts noted that body dissatisfaction and weight-related stigma are the main reasons, with age being a “critical point” for trying to help those affected.
King’s College London analyzed data from more than 10,000 twins as part of the Early Twin Development Study and the British Adult Twin Registry.
They studied the association between BMI and depression at ages 12, 16, and 21.
The researchers found that teens aged 12 to 16 with a higher BMI were more likely to suffer from depression than teens aged 16 to 21.
The study also showed that there is a stronger association between children who have a higher BMI in early life and the development of depression later in life, compared to children with depression who have a higher BMI in later childhood.
Dr Elaine Thompson, who led the study, said: “Understanding the relationship between psychiatric disorders and weight during adolescence is vital to providing timely support when needed. This study shows a stronger association between higher BMI at age 12 and later depressive symptoms.”
Previous research has suggested that poverty may be a risk factor, but this study looked at participants’ socioeconomic status and found that the association between depressive symptoms and weight did not change.
Professor Thalia Isley, Professor of Behavioral Developmental Genetics at King’s College London, said: “This study shows that early adolescence is a critical time for the development of obesity-related depressive symptoms… Working with young adolescents to help them gain a positive body image using strategies such as focusing on health and well-being rather than weight can help prevent subsequent depression.”
Source: Daily Mail