After studying a group of adults for over 15 years, researchers found people
who started out reporting high levels of depression gained weight at a faster rate than others in the study. However starting out overweight did not lead to changes in depression.
Researchers examined data from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study, a longitudinal study of over 5000 men and women. Researchers measured body weight, BMI, waist circumference and self reported levels of depression of the study participants in years 5, 10, 15 and 20.
After looking at the data, researchers found that everyone gained weight during the study period, however people who started out reporting high levels of depression increased in abdominal obesity and BMI at a faster rate than those who reported fewer symptoms of depression.
In year five, the waist circumference of the high-depression group was about 1.6 centimeters greater than those who reported low depression. By year 20, the waist circumference of the high-depression group was about 2.6 centimeters higher than those who reported lower levels of depression.
While more studies are needed to determine the underlying causes for weight gain among those who reported being depressed, it's thought that cortisol, a stress hormone may play a role since it is related to both depression and abdominal obesity
The study appeared in the American Journal of Public Health.
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