Researchers have confirmed a link between obesity and depression. They say that it's true- if you are obese you are more likely to be depressed and if you are depressed then you have an increased risk of becoming obese. In fact, depression was found to be predictive of developing obesity.
Obesity is considered a body-mass-index (BMI) of 30 or greater. The BMI chart compares height and weight but does not take bone structure or muscle mass into consideration. An example of a BMI of 30 would be a 5-foot 4-inch woman who weighs 174 pounds. A BMI of 33 is a 5 foot 4 inch woman who weighs 192 pounds.
Mental stress has a very negative impact on the health of a person’s heart. Obesity increases your risk for heart disease and research shows that up to 15 percent of those with cardiovascular disease experience major depression! For people with heart disease, depression can increase the risk of an adverse cardiac event such as a heart attack or blood clots.
Studies also show that depression after a heart attack has a 17 percent risk of death in the first six months of recovery as compared to only three percent not depressed. During recovery from cardiac surgery, depression can intensify pain, worsen fatigue and sluggishness, or cause them to withdraw from social activities. Additionally, poor lifestyle factors associated with depression such as obesity, smoking, lack of exercise, alcohol, and an unhealthy diet interfere with the treatment of heart disease.
If you are depressed or experiencing feelings of being overwhelmed, despondence, unhappiness, or sadness then don’t wait to get help. Talk with your health care provider or seek out someone to talk to. Reduce your risk for heart disease by checking your BMI on a body mass index chart and keep yourself in a healthy weight range.
1. Luppino F, et al. Overweight, Depression, and Depression. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2010;67(3):220-229.
2. Ruo B, et al. Depressive symptoms and health-related quality of life: the Heart and Soul Study. JAMA, July 9, 2003. 290(2):215-221.