Why Obesity Causes Depression

Why Obesity Causes Depression

In this article we will be taking a closer look at why obesity causes depression, and alternatively, why depression CAN cause obesity…

Could the effects of being seriously overweight directly lead to depression, or does depression itself cause excess weight gain in the first place?

Let’s take a closer look…

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I’m Depressed…Will This Cause a Gain in Weight?

I’ll level with you here – it’s bad enough suffering from depression or anxiety…without throwing in the hand grenade of obesity to back it all up!

But, unfortunately, certain individuals who experience depression or anxiety, will also see some sort of weight gain go along with it.

You see, depression and anxiety can both be associated with overeating, and consuming the wrong types of food and a more sedentary lifestyle. As one can imagine – this sort of lifestyle will eventually move from being slightly overweight…to being obese.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have carried out numerous tests on this subject and they now believe that about 43 percent of adults with depression are obese. They also point out that kids who are depressed often suffer from weight problems.


So I’m Obese…Will I Now Suffer From Depression?

I’m guessing that 99% of you reading this…will already know the answer to the question…

Yes, unfortunately, obesity is often linked with emotional issues, such as sadness, anxiety, and depression. Studies over the last two decades indicate that people who suffer from obesity, had a 55 percent greater risk of developing depression than those who are slim.

Obesity is also the cause of what are often referred to as ‘risk factors for depression’ – pain in joints, diabetes and hypertension.

obesity is often linked with emotional issues


Will Stress Factor Into This Equation?


Stress, along with anxiety, will frequently lead to depression.

Stress is also well known for bringing about a few negative coping mechanisms – one of which is turning to wrong kinds of food. This will obviously lead to some sort of weight gain…and eventually obesity (in some cases!).

However, there are two sides to this coin…

Stress can also be the cause behind weight loss, or other disordered eating habits.

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Can Prescription Antidepressants Aid Weight Gain?

A large majority of prescription antidepressants warn the user that weight gain could well be a side effect of taking the medication – this is certainly something you should watch out for.

ALWAYS read the small print with medication (let’s be honest – most of us just chuck it straight in the trash!).


What Can I Do to Combat Each Condition?

Certain prevention strategies for obesity and depression actually overlap – so you can use them to combat both conditions…

Always Try to Stay Active:

Exercise is a pretty awesome way of taking on both obesity and depression. First off the bat – exercise is a great way to boost natural depression-fighting endorphins. Secondly – exercise is well known for getting rid of that beer belly!

There is always going to be the challenge of motivation when it comes to suffering with depression, but remember – you will feel better after you exercise! 

Keep Talking:

It’s a simple one, but you’d be surprised at how many people struggle to take part in the activity…

Talk to someone.

It can be a friend, a family member, or a professional (a therapist or psychiatrist) – just talk!

taking on both obesity and depression


Why Obesity Causes Depression

It’s best to get a hold on obesity and depression early doors, because they can also lead to sleep problems, coronary heart disease, various forms of diabetes and hypertension.

Remember – this article is only meant to be a guide and I am in no way a medical professional. Obesity and Depression can be extremely serious conditions if left untreated.

Now it’s over to you – do you have any tips and tricks that you use to control obesity or depression?

Do you have any views on obesity and depression?

If so, we would love to hear from you. Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

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15 thoughts on “Why Obesity Causes Depression

  1. Interesting article, luckily I have never suffered from serious depression but I do understand why some people will turn binge eating, it probably makes them forget about their depression for a short while. I read somewhere that depressed people also sleep a lot, so that along with binge eating and no exercise, is a recipe for some serious health issues. I think one of the best advice is to talk to someone and get help.

    1. Yep, all good points there mate, especially the sleep side of things, which will obviously lead to weight gain. Cheers for reading and commenting! 

  2. Interesting how obesity and depression are linked, but I suppose it does make a lot of sense.

    I would think that an obese person would get depressed if he or she couldn’t do what they wanted to because of the weight they are carrying. Without your health, it certainly limits what you can do in life.

    It also doesn’t help that some antidepressants could make you gain weight, so it seems to be a losing battle.

    Rather than fight one or the other of these conditions alone, it would be wonderful if everyone could afford to see a professional or somebody to guide and support them on there weight loss journey.

  3. Hi Chris;

    The info you’ve presented here brings up a couple of points for me.

    I’ve had digestive issues all of my life and I have found that when I eat things I’m intolerant to like grains and legumes I get feelings of depression. But when I stick to a stricter diet of foods that I am fine with, the feelings dissipate. These factors don’t cause weight gain for me, but they do for one of my siblings who struggles.

    Also, I have another relative that struggles with depression and his doctor prescribed exercise at least three times per week. He went back to taking dance classes and it helps a lot. So, that is certainly a good point that I know personally helps people.

    Thanks for all of the great info presented here.Stella 🙂

    1. I’m afraid I can’t really comment on digestive issues Stella – everyone’s different. But if you know what foods get rid of your depression – stick to them! 🙂

      Good luck, and stay healthy! 

  4. Hello there 😉

    This is very detailed and informative article, great job! I have always wondered if obesity is connected to depression. I really admire how You touched and analzyed every significant and improtant aspects, such as obesity’s impact on both, emotional and physical health, the ways to combat this condition, perscription drugs and more in great detail and clarity. I found it to be quite shocking that depression can lead to obesity. I am not obesse (I am pretty skinny), however depression made me loose a lot of weight, rather than gain it, but I think it has to do with the fact that I was constantly stressed out and anxious, I guess to each his own. I really like the great advices You gave for combatting obesity, such as excercising and talking to someone. Also, I didn’t know that persciption drugs can make You gain weight, I thought it was completely opposite. Well, I learned a lot of new stuff today. Keep up the good work!

    1. Hi Evald, 

      Yeah depression and anxiety can definitely lead to weight loss as well, it’s different for everyone really. Great to hear that you’ve learned so much from the article, thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. 

  5. I am not sure if obesity causes depression or depression causes obesity. Meditation would help definitely and so would a positive outlook towards life in general. Apart from that, as mentioned in the post above, physical exercises will also help deal with both issues. The will to fight either of these issues should come from within. 

    1. Yeah it’s very much the chicken and the egg question isn’t it Priya – what came first?

      I agree with the exercise angle as it’s something that has got me through rough patches in my life (and I’ve had A LOT of them to get through, unfortunately!). 

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. 

  6. Thank you for this article on a very difficult subject.  I know it’s difficult,  because I’ve suffered from both depression and weight.  I found that it is very hard to break the cycle of eating, depression, more eating and no exercise.  For me, I always tried to use a lesson I learned from a Dale Carnegie course I once took.  It often helps to imagine the worst possible scenario (without taking it to extremes of course) and be prepared to cope with that scenario.  It just helps with the moving forward process.  Anyway, do you know of any other “breaking the cycle” tips?

    1. Off hand I don’t Glenn, no, but it’s really cool that you took the time to add your’s to the article we published here. Thank you so much for such a positive comment! 

  7. Being overweight sucks! All these random pains, getting tired easily, in fact I think its safe to say it affects you emotionally just as much as physically because your mind and body are linked which is easy to forget sometimes. It also doesn’t help being  boy (in my experience) because grown ups think that a boy should be “big” for some reason.

    Carrying excess weight isn’t just physically and emotionally draining, it is dangerous because your organs have to work harder to support a larger body while being suffocated by fat cells that seem to be continually increasing in size. I think for anyone out there who is tired of being overweight you just have to make the decision.

    There is definitely a lot of information and misinformation out there so just stick to the basics. Eat healthy whole foods (unprocessed, fruits and vegetables), and exercise regularly (whatever you find fun and sustainable). You should make the changes gradually swapping out one “bad” item for one “good item” until you are eating mostly good items.

    If you are disciplined you can have a cheat item but if you’re like me you should probably avoid these until you are at a healthy weight. Choose exercises you find fun because there is no point in running on a treadmill for 5 hours in a day and then never again.

    The most important thing is support. No matter how disciplined you are, if temptation (bad food) is around you all the time chances are you will eat that cookie, then that cake then before you know it you eat all the cakes!. Having support is vital because good role  models can also give you tips to help you along.

    Do your best, never give up and keep going until you surpass your goals!

    1. This is a pretty awesome comment Renton, thank you so much for taking the time to add your angles/opinions to our article. 

      There are numerous great points in your comment that the majority of our readers will find interesting (and helpful). Have a great day my friend! 🙂

  8. this post really left me in some serious thought  about my level of activity and why I feel the way I do nowadays. It almost bought tears to my eyes because my grandson is a very anxious individual and put on some severe weight. He’s now 10 soon to be 11 and he has definitely stretched out and trimmed down a little but has a way to go for a healthy range of body fat.

    He is now talking with a therapist and looking for ways to treat his mental issues so that he may focus throughout his day, and accomplish his education goals. I realized that because I am not around him as he lives further away I get depressed with worry, and then I become inactive and soothe eating leaving me with extra pounds and no motivation to get active. 

    Let alone my energy levels being depleted I feel helpless in being a good enough role model for him because his dad isn’t around. My question already have the answers so I won’t ask, however I will say determination has to be the key to creating a better life! 

    Have you had enough of this living? I have! and I am glad to have read your post fueling me to push forth.

    Thanks for sharing,

    Shannon Kamal

    1. Oh that sounds like a cool response Shannon – I’m really glad the article managed to ‘hit home’ in this way and provide you with food for thought (no pun intended!). 

      I really hope that your grandson gets the help he apparently needs, and remember – he is still young so a lot of that weight could well be puppy fat. 

      Good luck, and thanks for reading 🙂

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