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Factors affecting the incidence of depression in obese persons

Advances in Obesity, Weight Management & Control
Krishna Mohandas,1 Prema L,2 Krishna Kumar S,3 Haridas KP4


Introduction: Many researchers have highlighted a reciprocal link between depression and obesity. This study was an attempt to analyze the effect of various lifestyle factors on the degree of depression assessed using Beck’s inventory.

Objectives: To analyse the incidence of depression in obese individuals using a standardised tool named Beck’s depression inventory and to analyse the correlation of different lifestyle and dietary factors with depression.

Methodology: The study was conducted in two health care centres in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. This experiment was part of a research on obesity and was done among respondents having higher grades of BMI who attempted either bariatric surgery or conventional weight loss methods to reduce weight. The criterion for inclusion in this experiment were BMI of 33 Kg/m2 - 50 Kg/m2 and age range 18-65 years. Those having BMI more than 50Kg/m2, history of nephropathy, food allergy and uncontrolled diabetes were excluded. The samples included 10 respondents who opted conventional method and 18 respondents who opted Bariatric surgery for weight loss. The base line data were collected through a structured questionnaire and the depression status was assessed using Beck’s depression inventory. A comparative analysis was done using percentage distribution, Pearson correlation coefficient, ANOVA, and Paired t test.

Results: The major variable for this experiment was the depression score which generated a mean value of 7.4±3.9 in the surgery group and 13.7± 8.2 in the non surgery group. Age, monthly income, sitting time in hours, sleep apnoea score, waist circumference, Family obesity score and morbidity score were influencing depression status. Body Mass Index and body fat percentage were the most correlating anthropometric parameters with the depression score. Sitting time lower than 5 hours and sleep duration greater than 6hours were related to higher depression score whereas sleep apnoea score did not have any linear relation with depression score. Sedentary occupation and sleep initiation time later than 10’o clock also related to higher score with depression inventory. Respondents who had a history of obesity from childhood had higher incidence of depression. The diet analysis revealed that higher intake of protein, carbohydrates and fiber produced a negative trend in the case of depression score while higher intake of fat was producing a positive correlation. The intake of Methionine, phenyl alanin, tryptophan and tyrosine were higher than requirement and had a negative influence on depression. Deficient intake of omega three and omega six fatty acids and excess intake of PUFA and MUFA related to higher scores in depression while adequate or higher intake of EPA and DHA related to lower scores of depression. When the intake of anti oxidant water soluble vitamins were low, the scores obtained with the depression inventory were high. The intake of calcium was close to requirement and was showing somewhat positive influence on depression score. The intake of other important minerals and trace elements were lesser than requirement and had negative influence on depression status. The mean intake of sodium was found to be higher than the recommended intake and produced proportional rise in the depression score.

Summary and conclusion: It is clear from this study that unhealthy lifestyle patterns and poor diet quality have a strong influence on depression score obtained through Beck’s inventory. 


obesity, depression, bariatric surgery, beck’s inventory, diet quality