World Health Day, Weight Loss, and Depression
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of people living with depression increased by over 18% between 2005 and 2015 and has become the largest cause of disability worldwide. It is no wonder then that this year World Health Day focuses on this devastating disorder. So what is depression?
Depression is a mood disorder that is more than just “the blues” and typically involves persistent sadness, loss of interest in normal activities, feeling worthless or hopeless, irritability and frustration, and physical problems like sleep disturbances, slowed thinking, headaches, and loss of appetite. Many people also experience persistent thoughts of death or suicide. Depression can be treated and most people with depression feel better with medication, counseling or both. There is hope! But how are depression and body weight related?
Multiple research studies have shown a reciprocal link between depression and obesity. Meaning that obesity was found to increase the risk of depression and depression was found to be predictive of developing obesity.1 These two diseases appear to be inextricably linked. In fact, that the opposite also holds true in that as a person loses weight their depression improves.2 This means that living a healthy lifestyle of eating healthy, being physically active, and getting plenty of sleep can be helpful to someone struggling with depression.
If you or a loved one are struggling with depression, then the best thing you can do today is to talk about it. Tell someone what you are going through and talk to your primary healthcare provider as depression is not generally a disorder that you can treat on you own. It takes help from loved ones and a health professional. If you would like to learn more about the WHO initiative “Depression: let’s talk” then visit this link: http://www.who.int/campaigns/world-health-day/2017/toolkit.pdf?ua=1
- Luppino, F.S., de Wit, L.M., Bouvy, P.F., Stijnen, T., Cuijpers, P., Penninx, B., & Zitman, F.G. (2010). Overweight, Obesity, and Depression: A systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal studies. Archives of General Psychiatry, 67(3), 220-229. Retrieved from http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/210608
- Grandy, S., Green, A.J. & Fox, K.M. (2014). Weight Loss Impact on Change in Depression in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: Study to Help Improve Early Evaluation and Management of Risk Factors Leading to Diabetes (SHIELD). Journal of Diabetes Mellitus, 4, 216-224. Retrieved from http://file.scirp.org/pdf/JDM_2014081310391145.pdf