Objectives: To examine the relationship between obesity and depressive symptoms taking into account different measures for obesity (body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR)) and different depressive symptom clusters.
Design: Cross-sectional population-based survey.
Setting: Baseline data of the Nijmegen Biomedical Study.
Participants: One thousand two hundred eighty-four persons aged 50 to 70.
Measurements: Obesity (BMI, WC, and WHR) and depressive symptoms were measured, the latter using the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). Principal components analysis of the BDI items yielded two factors, one representing a cognitive-affective symptom cluster and the other a somatic-affective symptom cluster. Multiple regression analyses corrected for confounders were conducted for each measure of obesity, with separate models testing the BDI sum score and the depression symptom clusters.
Results: BMI was significantly associated with BDI sum score (β=0.12, P<.001) and the cognitive- (β=0.08, P=.008) and somatic-affective symptom clusters (β=0.10, P=.001). WC (β=0.11, P<.001) and WHR (β=0.07, P=.004) were specifically associated with the somatic-affective symptom cluster.
Conclusion: Visceral obesity, which is more indicative of vascular risk than BMI, is specifically associated with somatic-affective depressive symptom cluster, which might suggest that these symptoms are primarily due to a (subclinical) somatic condition.
© 2011, Copyright the Authors. Journal compilation © 2011, The American Geriatrics Society.