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Obesity and anxiety symptoms: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Adipositas und Angstsymptome: systematische Review und Metaanalyse



Obesity and anxiety are the two most common health problems and increased body mass index can be lead to anxiety.


The aim of this meta-analysis was to investigate the frequency of anxiety symptoms in people who are obese/overweight.


For this purpose the authors systematically searched keywords in the databases PubMed, Scopus, PsycINFO and Google scholar through August 2018. After a comprehensive review, 25 studies were included into the meta-analysis.


Results of the meta-analysis showed that the frequency of anxiety in obesity had a pooled odds ratio (OR) of 1.30 and a 95% confidence interval (CI) of 1.20–1.41 and in overweight had an OR of 1.10 and CI of 1.00–1.21. Comparison between obesity/overweight and normal weight showed high frequency of anxiety in obesity/overweight with respect to subgroups (sex, obesity and anxiety assessment, adjusted/unadjusted, anxiety duration and age). Evaluation of 25 studies included in the meta-analysis showed publication bias.


Overall, findings indicate anxiety occurs more frequently in obese/overweight people compared with normal weight people.



Adipositas und Angst sind die beiden häufigsten Gesundheitsprobleme, ein erhöhter Body-Mass-Index kann zu Angst führen.


Ziel dieser Metaanalyse war es, die Häufigkeit von Angstsymptomen bei Menschen mit Adipositas bzw. Übergewicht zu untersuchen.


In den Datenbanken PubMed, Scopus, PsycINFO und Google Scholar wurde anhand von Schlüsselwörtern systematisch nach bis 08/2018 publizierten Arbeiten recherchiert. Nach umfassender Überprüfung wurden 25 Studien in die Metaanalyse aufgenommen.


Die Ergebnisse der Metaanalyse zeigten für die Häufigkeit von Angst bei Adipositas eine gepoolte OR („odds ratio“) von 1,30 und ein 95%-Konfidenzintervall (KI) von 1,20-1,41, für die Häufigkeit von Angst bei Übergewicht eine gepoolte OR von 1,10 und ein 95%-KI von 1,00-1,21. Beim Vergleich zwischen normalgewichtigen und übergewichtigen/adipösen Menschen zeigte sich eine hohe Frequenz von Angststörungen bei Adipositas/Übergewicht in Bezug auf Untergruppen (Geschlecht, Assessment von Adipositas und Angst, angepasst/unangepasst, Angstdauer und Alter). Die Auswertung von 25 in die Metaanalyse einbezogenen Studien ergab ein Publikationsbias.


Insgesamt deuten die Ergebnisse darauf hin, dass Angststörungen häufiger bei übergewichtigen bzw. adipösen Menschen auftreten als bei normalgewichtigen.

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Correspondence to Sohrab Amiri.

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S. Amiri and S. Behnezhad declare that they have no competing interests.

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S. Amiri contributed to the formation of the subject, collecting and extracting data, analyzing data and writing a draft. S. Behnezhad contributed to collecting and extracting data and suggested some changes.

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Amiri, S., Behnezhad, S. Obesity and anxiety symptoms: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Neuropsychiatr 33, 72–89 (2019).

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  • Obesity
  • Overweight
  • Anxiety
  • Meta-analysis
  • Body mass index


  • Adipositas
  • Übergewicht
  • Angst
  • Metaanalyse
  • Body-Mass-Index