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Obes Res. 2005 Jan;13(1):101-9.

Relationships of psychiatric disorders with overweight and obesity in an adult general population.

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University of Greifswald, Institute of Epidemiology and Social Medicine, Walther-Rathenau-Str. 48, D-17487 Greifswald, Germany.



To explore relationships of smoking and risk drinking status, nicotine and alcohol dependence, and anxiety, depressive, and somatoform disorders with overweight and obesity.


A probability sample was drawn that was representative for the adult general population, 18 to 64 years of age, in one region of Germany; the participation rate was 70.2%. After excluding those who were pregnant or had a current eating disorder according to the DSM-IV, 4063 individuals remained. Overweight and obesity were defined according to the BMI that was assessed in the face-to-face in-home standardized interview (Composite International Diagnostic Interview) on psychiatric disorders.


Men with a former nicotine dependence had higher odds of being overweight than men who never had a nicotine dependence (adjusted odds ratio, 1.5; confidence interval, 1.1 to 2.1). Men at current risk for drinking and current alcohol-dependent or abusing men had lower odds of being overweight compared with men who never were alcohol dependent, abusing, or at risk for drinking (adjusted odds ratio, 0.3; confidence interval, 0.8 to 0.9). Effect sizes were small. No relationship of overweight with depressive, anxiety, or somatoform disorders was found in the multivariate analysis.


There is a relationship between being overweight and nicotine and alcohol dependence or abuse among men but not among women. Even though one reason for women to refrain from quitting smoking is the fear of weight gain, these results do not support this. This information could help convince women to try to quit smoking.

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