Body-size throughout life and risk of depression in postmenopausal women: findings from the E3N cohort

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2014 Aug;22(8):1926-34. doi: 10.1002/oby.20799. Epub 2014 Jun 4.


Objective: To assess the association of body-size from childhood to age 40 with depression in postmenopausal French women.

Methods: Participants of the E3N study reported birth characteristics and silhouettes matching theirs at age 8, at puberty, at 20-25, and 35-40 years (n = 41,144). Depression was assessed by the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale and split into new-onset and recurrent depression according to women's history of psychological disorder. Risks were estimated with multinomial logistic regression models.

Results: Low or high birth weights were associated with risk of depression. A large body-size at age 8 and a large body-size over the life-course were both associated with the risk of new-onset depression specifically, while women with a large body-size increase at puberty were at risk of recurrent depression. Largest body-sizes at 20-25 or 35-40 years were associated with both the risk of new-onset and recurrent depression, especially in normal weight women. However, a lean silhouette at 35-40 years was associated with the risk of recurrent depression only.

Conclusions: Women with a large body-size from childhood to adulthood might be at higher risk of new-onset postmenopausal depression, while leanness in adulthood could be associated with a higher risk of recurrent depression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Birth Weight
  • Body Size*
  • Child
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • France
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Middle Aged
  • Postmenopause / psychology*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Recurrence
  • Risk Factors
  • Thinness
  • Whites