HealthDay News — The risk for incident depression increases with body mass index (BMI) among overweight and obese patients, according to a study published online April 8 in Obesity.

Freya Tyrer, from the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom, and colleagues used electronic health records from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink to identify 519,513 overweight and obese adults and assess incident depression using follow-up data from 2000 to 2019.

The researchers found that the incidence of depression was 9.2 per 1,000 person-years and was higher in women and in men aged 40 to 59 years old who were severely obese. The risk for depression increased with each BMI category compared with being overweight: 30 to 34 kg/m² (hazard ratio [HR], 1.13); 35 to 39 kg/m² (HR, 1.34); 40 to 44 kg/m² (HR, 1.51); and 45 to 49 kg/m² (HR, 1.67). The risk attenuated at 50+ kg/m² (HR, 1.54). In two-thirds of cases, antidepressants were prescribed as firstline therapy. Prescriptions for fluoxetine fell over time (20.4 percent in 2000 versus 8.8 percent in 2018), while prescriptions for sertraline increased (4.3 percent in 2000 versus 38.9 percent in 2018).

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“We recommend guidance on antidepressant drug prescribing and specific services for people with obesity and depression that address both symptoms and behaviors,” the authors write.

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