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Association between depression and overweight in Chinese adolescents: a cross-sectional study

14 Feb 2019


Based on a nationally representative adolescent sample, we examined the association of depression on the prevalence of overweight or obesity and whether this association was moderated by gender.


There were 1081 adolescents from the China Family Panel Studies that participated in our study. Depression in adolescents was assessed using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D). Ordered logistic regression model was used to quantify its association with overweight or obesity. Analyses were performed for the total group, and separately for males and females.


The prevalence of depression in Chinese adolescents was 23.22%. Depression (CES-D ≥16) was significantly associated with overweight or obesity (OR=1.47, 95% CI: 1.14 to 1.91, p=0.004) after adjustment for personal, household and regional confounders. Among four subdimensions of depression, depressed affect and lack of positive affect were significantly associated with increases in the odds of overweight or obesity. In females, only lack of positive affect was significantly associated with overweight or obesity, whereas the estimated associations of all other measures of depression on overweight or obesity were positive in males.


These findings provide evidence that depression is associated with overweight or obesity among adolescents in China, especially among males.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open