Depression, Obesity Linked in Older Women but Not Older Men

By: GINA L. HENDERSON, Family Practice News Digital Network

The odds of depression are significantly elevated for older, obese women and significantly decreased for older overweight men, a study of almost 8,000 adults found.

The results of the study also held in a longitudinal analysis of the same cohort 5 years later.

The findings suggest that more research is needed to determine whether weight loss in older women might lead to a drop in either the prevalence or symptoms of depression, according to Dr. Beate W. Wild of the Medical University Hospital, Heidelberg, Germany, and her colleagues.

The results came from the baseline measurement and second follow-up of the ESTHER study, a cohort study of older adults conducted in Saarland, Germany. Patients were recruited by their primary care physicians during a biannual check-up and completed a self-administered questionnaire that asked about height and weight. One item on the questionnaire asked about past or present occurrence of depression (J. Psychosom. Res. 2012;72:376-82).

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