To Lose Belly Fat, Treat Depression

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., June 11 (UPI) — U.S. researchers, noting a link between depression and belly fat, suggest addressing abdominal fat in treating depression.

Study leader Barbara Needham of the University of Alabama at Birmingham said that at the beginning the 15-year study those reporting high levels of depression gained weight at a faster rate than those reporting low depression.

The study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, found by year five of the study the high-depression group averaged a waist circumference more than one-half inch greater than that of the group reporting low depression. By the study’s end, the waist circumference of the high-depression group was more than 1 inch greater than that of the less depressed group.

However, Needham noted starting out overweight did not lead to changes in depression.

“Our study is important because if you are interested in controlling obesity, and ultimately eliminating the risk of obesity-related diseases, then it makes sense to treat people’s depression,” Needham said in a statement. “It’s another reason to take depression seriously and not to think about it just in terms of mental health, but to also think about the physical consequences of mental health problems.”

Needham and colleagues used data from 5,115 men and women ages 18-30 enrolled in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study.

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