The Link Between Obesity and Depression: Exploring Shared Mechanisms

  • Young Sup Woo
  • Won-Myong BahkEmail author


Based on observations from epidemiological studies, increasing evidence has pointed to the association between obesity and depression. The association between both conditions has been described as bidirectional and convergent, and a growing amount of research suggests that several biological and psychosocial factors may be influencing the association. These findings raise the need to identify the shared underlying mechanisms between depression and obesity. In this chapter, we examine the association between depression and obesity in recent literature so as to better explicate the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying their interaction, with a specific emphasis on their disturbed metabolic signaling pathways. As reviewed here, hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis dysfunction and leptin, insulin, and inflammatory signals disturbance are thought to bridge obesity and depression. In addition, we discuss the clinical implications of this relationship regarding the need for careful evaluation and integrated care.


Obesity Depression Glucocorticoid Leptin Insulin Inflammation 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryYeouido St. Mary’s Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of KoreaSeoulSouth Korea

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