New Research – The More Body Fat One Carries, The Higher His Risk Of Depression

Obesity afflicts about 40% of the global adult population. People who are overweight struggle with countless issues ranging from the unavailability of their size’s clothing to higher health risks. Talking about physical health, being overweight is associated to increased odds of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis, etc.

However, excess body weight doesn’t only have negative consequences on physical health. In fact, obesity compromises psychological and emotional health as well. This is because being fat is frowned at so there is societal pressure. Obesity also slashes down one’s self-esteem and confidence.

In this regard, a new study coming from Denmark’s Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital has established a link between obesity and depression. As per this research work, 10 extra kilograms of body fat take the risk of depression up by 17%. The more extra fat, the high the chances of developing depression.

Researchers Used Mendelian Randomization For Study

Most studies related to weight use Body Mass Index for the purpose of obesity measurement. However, BMI is not an accurate measure because it doesn’t consider muscle mass and built. It only takes body weight and height into account. This study didn’t use the typical route. Rather it employed Mendelian Randomization for studying the link between obesity and depression. The journal Translational Psychiatry has published this report.

Findings Of The Research Work

For the purpose of this study, Researchers collected data from two genetic sets; the UK Biobank and the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium. The former had data of 330,000 people while the later had info on its 345,000 control subjects of which 135,000 had depression. Researchers found that it doesn’t matter where fat is located in the body, the risk of depression remains the same.

This shows that the link between obesity and depression is not a biological one but rather a psychological one. Had it been because of a biological effect, the risk would have been more when the fat was located at the center of the body. Furthermore, the more fat one carries, the higher his risk for developing depression goes.

Dr. Søren Dinesen Østergaard, an author of the study said, “As it appears to be the psychological consequences of obesity, such as a negative body image and low self-esteem that is the main driving force behind the increased risk of depression, society’s efforts to combat obesity must not stigmatize, as this will probably increase the risk of depression even further.”

Keeping the psychological effect of obesity in view, it is crucial to not criticize overweight people. This will only further the negative consequences of the health epidemic. At the same time it is also necessary to curb obesity before it damages one’s physical and psychological health further.


When it comes to obesity, it is well known that it can adversely effect not only physical but also psychological health. A new study says that the more excess pounds one packs, the higher his risk of developing depression. In this regard, it is important to stop obesity but without stigmatizing the health concern.