Obesity and onset of depression among U.S. middle-aged and older adults

TitleObesity and onset of depression among U.S. middle-aged and older adults
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsXiang, X, An, R
JournalJournal of psychosomatic research
Start Page242
KeywordsDemographics, Health Conditions and Status, Methodology

Objectives: This paper aims to examine the relationship between obesity and onset of depression among U.S. middle-aged and older adults. Methods: Data came from 1994 to 2010 waves of the Health and Retirement Study. Study sample consisted of 6514 community-dwelling adults born between 1931 and 1941 who were free of clinically relevant depressive symptoms in 1994. Body mass index (BMI) was calculated from self-reported height/weight. Body weight status was classified into normal weight (18.5 kg/m2 BMI andlt; 25 kg/m2), overweight (25 kg/m2 BMI andlt; 30 kg/m2), and obesity (BMI 30 kg/m2). A score of 3 on the 8-item Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale was used to define clinically relevant depressive symptoms. Kaplan Meier estimator and time-dependent Cox proportional hazards model were performed to examine the association between body weight status and onset of clinically relevant depressive symptoms. Results: Unhealthy body weight was associated future onset of depression. Compared with their normal weight counterparts, overweight and obese participants were 13 (hazard ratio HR = 1.13, 95 confidence interval CI = 1.04 1.23) and 9 (HR = 1.09, 95 CI = 1.01 1.18) more likely to have onset of clinically relevant depressive symptoms during the 16 years of follow-up, respectively. The relationship between obesity and depression onset appeared stronger among females and non-Hispanic whites than their male and racial/ethnic minority counterparts. Conclusions: Health care providers should be aware of the potential risk for depression among obese older adults.

Endnote Keywords

Obesity/Depression/Older adults/Survival analysis/depressive Symptoms/Body Weight

Endnote ID


Citation Key6486