Objectives: This study examined whether the association between obesity and 12-month prevalence of major depressive disorder (MDD) varied according to racial/ethnic status and nativity in representative national samples of black, Latino, Asian, and non-Hispanic white people.
Methods: We used data from the Comprehensive Psychiatric Epidemiology Surveys.
Results: In analyses by gender, obesity was associated with an elevated risk of MDD among non-Hispanic white women (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 1.73; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.27, 2.35; p = 0.001). Formal test for interaction revealed significant variation by race present between non-Hispanic white women and black, Latin, and Asian women. No significant differences were evident among men. In analyses by nativity, the association between obesity and MDD was significant among U.S.-born non-Hispanic white women (AOR=1.62; 95% CI 1.16, 2.27; p = 0.001) and U.S.-born black women (AOR = 1.29; 95% CI 1.01, 1.66; p = 0.041). Significant interactions were present among U.S.-born white and black women, Latin women, and Asian women. No significant interactions were evident among foreign-born women. Similarly, no significant differences were present among native-born or foreign-born men.
Conclusions: The findings suggest that the association between obesity and MDD varies according to racial/ethnic status and nativity. Understanding the link between obesity and depression may be imperative to designing interventions to address body weight maintenance and reduction strategies among women.