Obese 'more depressed'

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Obesity and depression are inextricably linked, US scientists have claimed.

Publishing their findings in this month's Archives of General Psychiatry, researchers from the Group Health Centre for Health Studies in Seattle, Washington, have demonstrated that those deemed clinically obese are 28 per cent more likely to develop depression.

The link becomes more pronounced when the subjects are Caucasian Americans or middle class, the Harvard Medical Centre data showed, highlighting a 44 per cent increased risk factor in these circumstances.

"Understanding the connection between obesity and depression is an important public health issue because both of these conditions are so common and have a significant impact on our health care systems," Dr Greg Simon, who led the study, explained.

He insisted that although the reciprocal nature of the link between obesity and mood or anxiety disorders depression had not been proven, "it's almost certain that the association works in both directions".

When a person is depressed they are 40 per cent more likely to become obese, cementing the link between the two health issues.

Thirty per cent of the US' population are obese while 20 per cent are likely to become depressed at some stage in their life.

While the 19 per cent of Britain's population who are clinically obese is substantially less than in the US, that proportion has doubled since the 1980s following the gradual adoption of American fast food eating habits.

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