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Ann Epidemiol. 2008 Jun;18(6):458-66. doi: 10.1016/j.annepidem.2007.12.009. Epub 2008 Mar 10.

Gender differences in associations between body mass index and DSM-IV mood and anxiety disorders: results from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT 06030-3944, USA.



The purpose of this study is to examine gender differences in associations between body mass index (BMI) and affective disorders.


We used logistic regression to examine the effects of BMI and gender on Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) mood and anxiety disorders in a sample of 40,790 adults.


Obesity (BMI >30.0) was associated with increased risk for any mood disorder, major depressive disorder, and dysthymic disorder, in both men and women (odds ratios [ORs], 1.35-1.88). Risk of bipolar I and II disorders was elevated in obese women (ORs, 1.70-2.41) but not men. Overweight (BMI = 25.0-29.9) predicted increased risk for any mood disorder and bipolar I disorder in women but not in men (ORs, 1.16-1.44). Obesity was associated with increased odds of any anxiety disorder and specific phobia in men and women (ORs, 1.35-1.79). Obese women were additionally at increased risk for social phobia. Overweight predicted increased risk of social phobia and specific phobia for women but not for men (ORs, 1.27-1.37).


Obese individuals of both genders are at increased risk for a range of mood and anxiety disorders, but women who are even moderately overweight experience increased risks for some disorders as well.

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