Weight Worries Can Lead to Depression

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa., June 28 (UPI) — Teenage girls who worry about being overweight when they’re not are more prone to depression than girls who acknowledge they’re overweight, U.S. experts say.

A Pennsylvania State University study looked at the relations between actual weight and weight perception and the effect on the mental health of adolescents, a university release Monday said.

“Parents often worry about overweight girls’ mental health, but our findings show that it is girls who have a healthy weight but perceive being overweight who are most likely to feel depressed,” said Jason N. Houle, graduate student in sociology and demography.

“We focus on how overweight girls feel,” Molly Martin, a sociology professor, said.. “But they may not suffer as many symptoms as we suspected. Past researchers may have missed the key group: normal weight girls who think they are overweight.”

Doctors treating young patients need to recognize the effect perception of body image can have on young people, another professor says.

“Clinicians cannot assume that healthy weight adolescents know their weight is healthy or feel good about it,” said Michelle L. Frisco, assistant professor of sociology and demography.

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