Science News

Increased amount of fat in the body increases risk of depression

A greater quantity of body fat increases the risk of depression according to a new study conducted by researchers from the University of Aarhus and the University Hospital of Aarhus, Denmark.

The research has calculated that having 20 pounds of excess body fat increases the risk of falling into depression by 17%. The greater the amount of fat, the greater the chance of developing depression.

And the position of fat in the body would make no difference, as specified by Søren Dinesen Østergaard, one of the authors of the study. This factor is important because according to the researchers it suggests that it is not a biological cause to increase the risk or otherwise to contribute but psychological causes are purely: “If the opposite were true, we would have seen that the centrally located fat on the body increased the risk more, since it has the most harmful effect in biological terms,” says Østergaard.

The researcher did not take into account the body mass index to measure obesity, a fairly crude measure that does not take into account other factors such as build and muscle mass. Instead, they analyzed data from two large genetic data sets, which contain various types of data, including the correlation between genetic variants and depression and physical measurements such as fat mass distributed around body parts.

Precisely because there is the psychological aspect at stake, according to the researcher, “it is important to have a balanced approach to the issue” given that the psychological consequences of obesity seem to be the main driving force that increases the risk of depression.