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The Relation of Body Mass Index to Depressive Symptoms

Abstract

Objective

Data from the 1995 Nova Scotia Health Survey were analyzed to determine the relation between body mass index (BMI) and the risk of depression as measured by the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D).

Methods

Clinical measures for height and weight and CES-D scores were available for 2,482 subjects from an initial sample of 5,578 Nova Scotians stratified probabilistically to be representative of age, gender and area of residence. BMIs were categorized according to the international standards (BMI 18.5–24.9 acceptable weight; 25–29.9 overweight; ≥ 30 obese).

Results

More men than women were classified as overweight (43.2% vs. 28.3%) but slightly more women than men were obese (25.6% vs. 23.4%). Based on the summary score of the CES-D, 14.2% were categorized as at risk for depression (≥ 16). Logistic regression indicated that lower education (p<0.001) and income (p<0.001), and BMI category (p<0.05) were all significantly related to an increased risk of depression. The odds ratio for the association between obesity and depression, after controlling for education and income, was 1.41 [95% CI = 1.07-1.86]. Discussion: More studies are needed to ascertain the mechanism by which obesity and depression could be related and the significance of this relation for the prevention and treatment of both obesity and depression. Given the effects of depression, we suggest that health professionals should assess their obese patients for risk of depression before embarking on a weight management protocol.

Résumé

Objectif

Nous avons analysé les données de l’enquête sur la santé en Nouvelle-Écosse (1995) pour déterminer la relation entre l’indice de masse corporelle (IMC) et le risque de dépression mesuré selon l’échelle de dépression du Center for Epidemiological Studies (CES-D).

Méthode

Les mesures cliniques de la taille et du poids et les scores du CES-D étaient disponibles pour 2 482 sujets d’un échantillon initial de 5 578 Néo-Écossais, stratifié selon la technique du calcul probabiliste pour être représentatif de l’âge, du sexe et de la région de résidence. Les IMC ont été catégorisés selon les normes internationales (IMC 18,5–24,9 = poids acceptable; 25–29,9 = embonpoint; ≥ 30 obésité).

Résultats

Plus d’hommes que de femmes ont été classés comme faisant de l’embonpoint (43,2 % c. 28,3 %), mais les femmes étaient un peu plus nombreuses que les hommes dans la catégorie des obèses (25,6 % c. 23,4 %). Selon le score sommaire du CES-D, 14,2 % des sujets étaient vulnérables à la dépression (≥ 16). Par régression logistique, nous avons déterminé que de faibles niveaux d’instruction (p<0,001) et de revenu (p<0,001) et la catégorie d’IMC (p<0,05) étaient trois facteurs liés de façon significative à un risque de dépression accru. Le rapport de cotes de l’association obésité-dépression, compte tenu du niveau d’instruction et du revenu, était de 1,41 (IC de 95 % = 1,07-1,86).

Discussion

Il faudrait davantage d’études pour établir avec précision le mécanisme qui relierait l’obésité à la dépression et la signification de ce lien pour la prévention et le traitement de l’obésité et de la dépression. Étant donné les effets de la dépression, nous suggérons aux professionnels de la santé d’évaluer le risque de dépression de leurs patients obèses avant d’amorcer un protocole de gestion du poids.

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Correspondence to Elizabeth Johnston PhD.

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Johnston, E., Johnson, S., McLeod, P. et al. The Relation of Body Mass Index to Depressive Symptoms. Can J Public Health 95, 179–183 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03403643

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