Objectives: We investigated whether, over time, baseline obesity is associated with change in depressive symptoms or if baseline symptoms of depression are associated with change in body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference.
Methods: We used latent growth curve modeling to examine data from years 5, 10, 15, and 20 of the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study (n = 4643). We assessed depressive symptomatology with the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression scale.
Results: Respondents who started out with higher levels of depressive symptoms experienced a faster rate of increase in BMI (for Whites only) and waist circumference (for Blacks and Whites) over time than did those who reported fewer symptoms of depression in year 5. Initial BMI and waist circumference did not influence the rate of change in symptoms of depression over time.
Conclusions: Depressive symptomatology likely plays a role in the development of physical health problems, such as cardiovascular disease, through its association with increases in relative weight and abdominal obesity over time.