Changes in the Association Between Overweight and Depression Across Three Major Ethnic Groups, Between 2005 – 2018

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Contribution to Book

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GSU Research Symposium


Background: Failure to take dynamic trends into consideration may contribute to the inconsistency of literature on the relationship between body weight and depression. The present study assessed the change in the association between depression and bodyweight, measured and perceived from 2005 – 2018 among three major racial/ethnic groups.

Methods: We analyzed the data of 27,387 adults age 18 or older, collected in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2005-2018.

Results: Among white women, only self-perceived overweight was significantly associated with depression [OR = 3.15, (95% CI = 1.30, 7.62)] in the 2005-2010 survey period. However, in 2011“2018, only obesity measured directly was significantly associated with depression [2.49, (1.07-5.80)]. Among white men, self-perceived overweight and obesity measured directly were significantly associated with depression only in 2011-2018; [2.57, (1.19“5.57)] and [0.29, (0.10 “ 0.82)], respectively. Obesity directly measured consistently associated with increased odds of depression among black men. No significant associations were observed in Hispanic and black women in any survey period.

Conclusion: Significant gender and ethnic differences exist, and the associations between body weight and depression have been evolving in sex-race-specific trajectories. Interventions must be consistently fine-tuned following the dynamic changes in the relationship between bodyweight and overall well-being.


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