Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Depression Risk Fourfold Higher in Obese Seniors

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Depression Risk Fourfold Higher in Obese Seniors

Article excerpt

FROM THE ANNUAL MEETING OF THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR GERIATRIC PSYCHIATRY

SAN ANTONIO--Depression and obesity appear to go hand in hand among community-dwelling older adults, according to Dr. Laura Kersting Barre.

The prevalence of depression among men and women in their 60s, 70s, and 80s rises in tandem with body mass index (BMI), at about 17% for people with a BMI of 30 kg/[m.sup.2] or greater (obese), compared with about 11% for those with a normal BMI (18.5-24.9), Dr. Barre of Dartmouth Medical School in Hanover, N.H., reported in a poster presentation at the meeting.

The relative risk for depression among obese seniors receiving care from three different types of community-based settings was about fourfold higher than for seniors with normal weight, she and her associates found.

"When depression and obesity co-occur, they may act synergistically to further reduce functioning and exacerbate outcomes from comorbid medical conditions. In older adults, the association between obesity and depression and the moderators of the relationship remain unclear," she wrote in the poster.

The investigators explored this relationship by analyzing three separate studies of older adults who were receiving prepared meals in their homes or in senior centers (both in Westchester County, N.Y.), and in publicly financed assisted-living homes in the New York City borough of the Bronx.

Clinically significant depression was defined differently in each setting. In the home-meals setting, depression was defined as a score greater than 9 on the depression scale of the Patient Health Questionnaire. …

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