Obesity can lead to depression

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Oct 24, 2016
Quick Bites

  • Obesity and depression are linked to one another.
  • Poor self-image can cause depression in obese people.
  • Both sometimes share a common cause.
  • Depression can worsen weight gain, making it a vicious cycle.

Obesity is a condition when a person accumulates excess body fat. An overweight person having so much excess fat that it begins to harm their health is called obesity. Aside from the detrimental effects on health, obesity can also cause psychological trouble to the sufferer.




According to a study, an obese person has more than 50% of a risk to develop depression at some point in their lives. This connection between obesity and depression can be because of multiple reasons, as listed below.

Poor self-image

In this picture perfect world of Photoshop and stick-thin models, obesity can cause serious self-esteem issues. Women are much more likely to be a victim of this obesity-depression cycle as they are more prone to having body image issues.


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This constant self-loathing can take a great emotional toll, and is commonly seen in teens and adults worldwide.Sometimes the perception of oneself as obese is the cause of major depression, regardless of whether a person is actually obese or not.

Social stigma

The social stigma associated with being overweight in our society can meddle with anyone’s psyche. According to statistics obese children are more prone to bullying and are usually less self-confident due to the constant pressure. Another problem that obese people face is that our society treats obesity as a fault rather than a condition, which further demoralizes anyone who is suffering from it.


Common risk factors

The link between obesity and depression can also be attributed to the fact that both can sometimes have common risk factors. Being from a lower socioeconomic strata or not being involved in any physical activity, both can be a cause for obesity as well as depression.

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Another common risk factor can be inflammation. Inflammation is now being linked to metabolic syndrome, and most people with metabolic syndrome are obese. On the other handinflammation also interferes with the brain’s signals to the rest of the body, and distorts hormonal signals. These changes can be the start of depression.


Start of a vicious cycle

Obesity triggers depression, and depression worsens weight gain. This is a vicious cycle where one becomes the cause of another. While obesity can cause depression due to many factors listed above, depression can also cause obesity.

Depression usually results in a loss of interest in physical activity of any kind, which is the beginning of weight gain. When a person is depressed, certain foods can relieve the depression temporarily and generate a false feeling of well-being and happiness. This results in a habit of eating to overcome the sadness for some time, also known as emotional eating. Emotional eating combined with no physical activity gives way to obesity and the cycle continues.

Image Source: Getty

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