Adolescent girls diagnosed with major depression are likely to gain an unhealthy amount of weight as they mature, according to a new study published in the International Journal of Obesity.
Further, obese teenager girls are prone to develop depression as they reach adulthood, according to the findings.
The same correlation between depression and weight was not found among boys and young men, according to the research.
The study assessed the heights and weights of 1,500 male and female participants from Minnesota at the age of 11, 14, 17, 20, and 24. The subjects were interviewed to determine whether they suffered from major depressive disorder. The researchers monitored weight gain and symptoms of depression by age 14, then from age 14 to 20, and from 20 to 24.
“When an adolescent girl receives treatment for depression, the clinician might consider incorporating something relating to healthy eating and activity,” Naomi Marmorstein, an associate professor of psychology at Rutgers–Camden and co-author of the study, said. “Exercise can assist in the treatment of depression to begin with, so it seems like a good reason to combine prevention efforts for both depression and obesity.”