Obesity Significantly Intensifies the Depressive Symptom among Adults with Neck or Back Pain

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Objective: Obesity and back or neck pain are the leading chronic conditions among adults in the United States, yet the interaction between these two conditions and the role in the development of depressive symptom have not yet been investigated.

Methods: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data from 2009-2010 of 1,952 men and 1,971 women aged 20 years or older was used to calculate odds ratios (OR) of depression among normal, overweight, and obese men and women that reported a presence or absence of neck or back pain.

Results: The prevalence of moderate/severe depression were 1.9 (SE: 0.18) and 3.46 (SE: 0.27) percent among men and women, respectively. Using neck or back pain-free adults with similar body mass index (BMI) level as the reference, the odds ratios (OR) of depression were 2.60 (1.04-6.51), 3.03 (1.10-8.37), and 11.6 (6.01-22.5) among normal, overweight, and obese men that reported neck or back pain. The ORs of depression were 2.28 (1.08-4.81), 2.97 (1.14-7.80), and 3.05 (2.03-4.58) among normal, overweight, and obese women that reported neck or back pain. These estimates were obtained after adjustments for relevant health history and socioeconomic factors.

Conclusions: Excess body weight significantly intensifies the depressive symptoms and increases the prevalence of depression among adults diagnosed with neck or back pain. Obesity prevention may improve the both mental and physical well-being among adults.


Experimental Biology Annual Meeting (EB)


Boston, MA