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Depress Anxiety. 2010 Nov;27(11):1057-65. doi: 10.1002/da.20738. Epub 2010 Aug 23.

Depressive and anxiety disorders and the association with obesity, physical, and social activities.

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Department of Clinical Psychology and EMGO Institute, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



There is evidence of more obesity among persons with depressive and depressive and anxiety disorders. However, the nature and the underlying mechanisms of the association are still unclear. This study examines the association between depressive and anxiety disorders and obesity, physical activity, and social activity, and examines whether social and physical activity are potential influencing factors in the association between depressive and anxiety disorders and obesity.


Cross-sectional data were used from the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety. A total of 1,854 women and 955 men aged 18-65 years were recruited from the community, general practices, and specialized mental health care. Depressive and anxiety disorders were determined with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview. Body mass index (BMI<30 kg/m(2) ) was used to determine obesity. Physical and social activities were measured by self-report.


The odds of obesity adjusted for covariates was significantly higher among those with a current pure Major Depressive Disorder (MDD;odds ratio [OR] OR:1.43; 95% CI:1.07-1.92) compared to controls. Physical activity and social activities were lower among persons with depressive and anxiety disorders compared to controls. The association between MDD and obesity was influenced by social and physical activities.


This study confirmed a link between depressive disorders and obesity that was influenced by lower social and physical activities among the depressed.

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