Young Obese People are at Risk of Anxiety and Depression

Young Obese People are at Risk of Anxiety and DepressionResearchers have looked at over 12,000 children and teens and how their obesity affects things like anxiety and depression. In doing so they’ve discovered that obese children are at a higher risk of developing these mental health issues. In fact, obesity raised these issues by about 33% in young boys. Now they urge healthcare professionals to be more vigilant in this regard.

Obesity in America Today

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that over 35% of all young adults living in America today suffer from obesity. They also recognize the prevalence of mental health issues among this population. Studies show that about 32% of youth ages 13 – 17 have suffered from some type of anxiety already in their lives. Now a new research study that was headed up by Louise Lindberg at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden shows that obesity is an independent risk factor that unfortunately contributes to these mental health issues. Lindberg presented these findings at the European Congress on Obesity in Glasgow, U.K.

There’s been a 43% rise in the risk of depression and anxiety today. This was discovered as Lindberg and her team looked at the data they collected from over 12,000 young persons between the ages of 6 – 17. These young persons had received treatment for obesity. Their data was compared to that of over 60,000 other people of the same age who weren’t obese. This collection occurred between 2005 and 2015 (an average of 4.5 years) and discovered that over 4,200 young persons in this age range did develop either anxiety or depression as teens.

Researchers also discovered that obese girls were 43% more likely to have issues than thin girls who were the same age. Something similar was also true for boys. Their risk in comparison to think boys their age was 33% higher when it came to developing a mental health issue. Things like migration background, neuropsychiatric conditions, genetic based mental health issues, and socioeconomic status weren’t taken into consideration here. When adjustments were made for such factors, obesity still played a huge roll in the development of anxiety and depression. With these considerations factored in 11.6% of girls and 8% of boys still found themselves battling these mental health conditions.

Research Limitations

Lindberg and her team of researchers acknowledge that there were some limitations to their study. These included:

  • This research was based on observation alone. As such, nothing can be said about the mechanisms behind the associations.
  • Researchers didn’t have any access to the height or weight of the individuals who participated in this study.
  • There may be some bias present in regard to how many of these youth may have already had mental health issues prior to becoming obese. This is due to the sad truth that many people will live with such conditions without seeking any professional help.

Lindberg would be the first to admit that more research must be done in this area to determine the mechanisms behind the association that she and her team concluded.

Why Antidepressants Don’t Always Work

A clear increase definitely exists between weight and mental health issues. Unfortunately, there is no clear explanation for it though. Nevertheless, it’s important for healthcare professionals to become more vigilant in this regard today.

While you may think that it’d be as easy as giving someone some antidepressant medication, unfortunately this doesn’t always work. Researchers have discovered that there’s a neurological reason for this. Instead, if you’re suffering from anxiety or depression and you live in Clearwater, FL you should contact The TMS Advantage. They’ve helped many people overcome these mental health issues in the past and can help you too.


Picture Credit: Houcine Ncib

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