Obese Teens No More Depressed than Peers?

teens weight depression relationshipHealthDay News posted about a recent study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, indicating that obese teens are not any more likely to be depressed than their normal weight peers. The research group consisted of 51 severely obese teens, ranging from 7th-12th grade and a similar group of non-obese teens. The obese teens had a body mass index of 40 or more which is considered severely obese and in the top 1 percent for their age group. According to the article, the teens were assessed for depression at the beginning of the study, as well as two and three years later.

The findings did not substantiate a link between obesity and depression in teens. The study author, Dr. Elizabeth Goodman, who is director of the Center for Child and Adolescent Health Policy at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, explained that “People assume that all obese adolescents are unhappy and depressed; that the more obese a teen may be, the greater the impact on his or her mental health. Our findings suggest that this assumption is false.”

We asked expert bariatric surgeon Dr. Kevin Montgomery of Northwest Weight Loss Surgery about this study. Dr. Montgomery said, “this study did not find a link between obesity and depression in teens, but it was a fairly small study and could miss a difference in depression rates. Several other larger studies published within the last five years have shown reduced psychosocial functioning and health-related quality of life in obese and morbidly obese teenagers.” Studies that did show a relationship between quality of life and obesity include Health Related Quality of Life in Severely Obese Children and Adolescents published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and Predictors of Health Related Quality of Life in Obese Youth published here in Obesity.

You can read HealthDay’s article here.

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