We should be able to be both fat and happy. Why are the two conditions so often linked?
PROBLEM: Studies have shown that obesity and depression function as reciprocal risk factors: People who are obese are more likely to be depressed, and vice versa. From a behavioral basis, it's possible that each can actually cause the other. Doctors go so far as to argue in favor of treating the two conditions together as interrelated illnesses -- a study funded by the National Institutes of Mental Health found that among overweight women with major depressive disorder, the only ones who were able to lose weight were those who improved their depression.
And that's not to neglect the genetic basis of both -- we know one exists, even if it's not entirely clear which genes are involved. Since we are aware of a gene variant that's closely linked to obesity, researchers at McMaster University in Ontario hypothesized that the predisposition to depression might be found in the same place.
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METHODOLOGY: The researches examined 17,200 DNA samples, which had been drawn from 21 different countries by the Population Health Research Institute. They sequenced the subjects' genomes and compared that to their diagnoses, based on the criteria for major depressive disorder outlined by the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel.