Weight cycling and depressive symptoms in diabetes: a community-based study of adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus in Quebec

Can J Diabetes. 2014 Dec;38(6):456-60. doi: 10.1016/j.jcjd.2014.01.005. Epub 2014 Jul 14.


Objective: The problems of obesity and depression in type 2 diabetes mellitus are well documented, yet the role of weight cycling in relation to these 2 chronic conditions has not been examined. The study objective was to determine whether weight cycling predicts the development of depressive symptoms in the course of 1 year.

Methods: A cohort study of 1100 adults with type 2 diabetes participating in the Diabetes Health and Well-Being Study (telephone survey using the random-digit-dialling method) had complete data at the 1-year follow up on depressive symptoms (Patient Health Questionnaire 9) and weight cycling frequency (going on a diet and losing >10 kg).

Results: At baseline, 56.5% of subjects reported weight cycling on at least 1 occasion in their lifetime; it was found to be associated with baseline body mass index, depression, sex and age (p<0.05). Regression analyses indicated that severe weight cycling (≥4 times) was not associated with the development of major depressive symptoms; however, it was associated with maintaining major depressive symptoms (p=0.038) but significance disappeared after adjusting for body mass index, physical activity, smoking and sociodemographic characteristics. Development and maintenance of major depressive symptoms were associated with physical inactivity (p<0.05); maintenance of major depressive symptoms was also associated with higher body mass index values (p<0.05).

Conclusions: Weight cycling is a widespread phenomenon in diabetes. It was associated with depression, but severe cycling was not an independent predictor of the development and maintenance of major depressive symptoms. Clinicians should consider physical inactivity when evaluating and addressing depression in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Keywords: depression; diabète de type 2; dépression; type 2 diabetes; variation cyclique du poids; weight cycling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / physiopathology
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quebec
  • Weight Gain*
  • Weight Loss*
  • Young Adult