Post-traumatic stress disorder predicts future weight change in the Millennium Cohort Study

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2015 Apr;23(4):886-92. doi: 10.1002/oby.21025. Epub 2015 Mar 16.


Objective: To prospectively examine the association between post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and weight change.

Methods: Longitudinal analysis techniques were used to examine data (2001-2008) from Millennium Cohort Study participants, consisting of U.S. service members and veterans. Using the PTSD Checklist-Civilian Version, PTSD was assessed as none, resolved, new onset, or persistent. Subsequent weight change was assessed as stable (≤3% loss or gain), >3% weight loss, >3% but <10% weight gain, and ≥10% weight gain.

Results: Of the 38,352 participants, 2391 (6.2%) had PTSD (838 resolved, 1024 new onset, and 529 persistent), and 11% of participants subsequently had ≥10% weight gain. In multivariable models, PTSD was associated with higher odds of ≥10% weight gain (new onset OR: 1.44 [95% CI: 1.20-1.73]; persistent OR: 1.51 [CI: 1.17-1.96]; resolved OR: 1.30 [CI: 1.05-1.60]) compared with those without PTSD. New-onset and persistent PTSD were also associated with higher odds of >3% weight loss (OR: 1.41 [CI: 1.17-1.71]; OR: 1.42 [CI: 1.09-1.86], respectively).

Conclusions: PTSD is independently associated with a higher risk of weight gain and loss, the former of which leads to a higher prevalence of overweight and obesity and a higher risk of comorbidities associated with excessive body adiposity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Military Personnel / statistics & numerical data*
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / prevention & control
  • United States
  • Veterans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Weight Gain*