Home » Eating Disorders » Blogs » Mental Health Humor » Which Came First – Obesity or Depression?? [Part 1]

Which Came First – Obesity or Depression?? [Part 1]

Obesity and depression go hand in hand at times. Are they walking hand in hand in your life? What is the connection if any between Depression and Obesity? Which comes first, Obesity or Depression? Does it really matter to you?

A recent article in the LA Times written by Shari Roan highlighted some interesting research on the subject:

“Researchers at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, looked at data from a longitudinal study of more than 5,000 men and women ages 18 to 30. Over the 20 year study, participants’ waist circumference and body mass index were measured and they were asked about symptoms of depression.”

“The study found that that the waist circumference among the people who started the study with depression was about 1 inch larger than those who started the study reporting lower levels of depression. This was true regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, and education level. In contrast, those who started the study with higher body-mass index and waist circumference did not show a change in depression symptoms over time.”

Which Came First - Obesity or Depression [image]

You can check out the study published in the American Journal of Public Health June issue. Belinda Needham, the lead author of the study, said in a news release:

“If you are interested in controlling obesity, and ultimately eliminating the risk of obesity-related diseases, then it makes sense to treat people’s depression.”

Does Ms. Needham’s statement make sense (to me, anyway?!)? Aren’t certain medications used in the treatment of Depression known to cause weight gain?! (I’ve put on a lot of weight “treating” my Depression!!) Mayo Clinic Psychiatrist, Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D. had this to say at MayoClinci.COM:

“The exact relationship between antidepressants and weight gain isn’t clear, but weight gain is a reported side effect of nearly all antidepressants.”

“Certain antidepressants are more likely to cause weight gain than are others. For example, tricyclic antidepressants and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) are more likely to be associated with weight gain than are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). The exception to this may be long-term use of paroxetine (Paxil) — an SSRI that’s more likely to cause weight gain than are other SSRIs.”

“It’s not possible to predict who’s most likely to gain weight from taking antidepressants. However, recent research has shown that people who gain weight within about the first week of starting antidepressant treatment are more likely to have significant weight gain from the medication over an extended period of time.”

(to be continued)

Chato B.  Stewart
Mental Health Advocate – Cartoonist – and a few other  things!

Psych Central Humor

Which Came First – Obesity or Depression?? [Part 1]

Chato Stewart

Chato Stewart has a mission, to draw and use humor as a positive tool to live, to cope with the debilitating effects symptoms of mental illness. Chato Stewart is a Mental Health Hero and Advocate. Recovery Peer Specialist board-certified in Florida. Chato is the artist behind the cartoons series Mental Health Humor, Over-Medicated, and The Family Stew - seen here in his blog posts. The cartoons are drawn from his personal experience of living with bipolar disorder (and other labels). [email protected]

3 comments: View Comments / Leave a Comment



APA Reference
Stewart, C. (2010). Which Came First – Obesity or Depression?? [Part 1]. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 5, 2020, from


Last updated: 1 Jul 2010
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network ( prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on All rights reserved.