Depression and obesity in the U.S. adult household population, 2005-2010

NCHS Data Brief. 2014 Oct;(167):1-8.


Forty-three percent of adults with depression were obese as compared with 33% of adults without depression. Women with depression were more likely to be obese than women without depression. The relationship was consistent across all age groups among women and was also seen in men aged 60 and over. Non-Hispanic white women with depression were more likely to be obese than non-Hispanic white women without depression. This relationship was not seen in non-Hispanic black or Hispanic women or among men of any racial or ethnic background. As the severity of depression increased, the percentage of all adults and of women with obesity increased as well. Both moderate to severe depressive symptoms and antidepressant use were associated with increased obesity. Moderate to severe depressive symptoms were associated with a higher rate of obesity both in persons who were taking antidepressant medication and those who were not, and antidepressant use was associated with a higher rate of obesity in persons with moderate to severe depressive symptoms and those with mild or no depressive symptoms. Of the four categories, the highest prevalence of obesity (54.6%) was found in persons who had moderate or severe depressive symptoms and took antidepressant medication. In this study, it is not clear whether depression or obesity occurred first because they were both measured at the same time. Other studies have shown a bidirectional relationship, meaning obesity increases risk of depression and depression increases risk of obesity . Knowledge of these risks may help general medical practitioners and mental health professionals plan prevention and treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Depression / drug therapy
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Depression / ethnology
  • Ethnicity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / drug therapy
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Obesity / ethnology
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Distribution
  • United States


  • Antidepressive Agents