Weight Loss May Improve Symptoms of Depression

Depression can be a complicated condition. It can cause weight gain, while weight gain can cause depression. For those who struggle with depression or weight gain, the other challenge is likely to soon follow.

Science Daily published a release highlighting research to be presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior (SSIB). This research found that after a six month behavioral weight loss program, depressed patients lost 8 percent of their initial weight and showed improvements in their symptoms of depression.

“This research is novel because clinically depressed individuals are not usually included in weight loss trials due to concerns that weight loss could worsen their depression,” said Dr. Lucy Faulconbridge, lead author of the study, in Science Daily.

“These concerns, however, are not based on empirical evidence, and the practice of excluding depressed individuals from clinical weight loss trials means that we are learning nothing about this high-risk population.” The latest findings suggest that depressed, obese individuals can indeed lose clinically significant amounts of weight, and that weight loss can actually reduce symptoms of depression.

Within the study completed by Faulconbridge, both depressed and non-depressed subjects lost weight. Although depressed subjects lost less than non-depressed individuals, both groups showed significant improvements in glucose, insulin and high density lipoprotein cholesterol.

Faulconbridge, who completed the research for the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, noted that depression and obesity are independently associated with an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. If both issues can be effectively addressed in individuals, it can contribute to an improvement in long-term health outcomes.

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