Obesity in childhood triples risk of depression in middle age

Washington D.C. [USA], May 20 : Parents please take note! Children, who are overweight at the age of eight or 13 are three times more likely at risk of depression in middle age, warns a study.

According to researchers, carrying excess weight throughout life quadruples the chances of developing the mental health disorder and may permanently damage self-esteem, resulting in depression later on.

One in three children in the U.S. and the U.K. are overweight or obese, previous research has shown. The VU University Medical Centre researchers in the Netherlands enlisted 889 people living in Reykjavik, Iceland, with an average age of 75.

The team then looked at school records of the participants dating back almost seven decades to find out, if they were overweight as children, defined as having a BMI between 25 and 29.9.

The data also revealed their weight at the age of 50. The results revealed that carrying excess weight in childhood is a stronger predictor of depression later down the line than being overweight in middle age.

The team presented their findings at this year's European Congress on Obesity. "A shared genetic risk or low self-esteem, which is frequently associated with those who do not conform to the ideal body type, could be responsible," the researchers explained.

"Given the rise in adolescents' obesity and greater influence of social media on body image, understanding the associations between childhood obesity and depression is critical," they noted.

This comes after researchers from the University of Navarra in Spain found eating one or two meat-free meals a week halves the risk of becoming obese.

Source: ANI