High BMI linked to high rate of depression among teens
A new study has found that high body mass index (BMI) — or in simple terms, being overweight — in childhood is often a precursor to depression in teenage, especially among girls. No, it's not that excess fat causes depression. Actually, it's the dissatisfaction that comes from being overweight that contributes to depression.
This is easy to imagine, as young people especially girls are very much concerned about their looks.
The researchers conducted the research by studying over 13,000 people born between 2000 and 2002. They found that high BMI at age 7 was associated with an increased tendency of body dissatisfaction at age 11 and depression at 14. What's more, the link was twice as high in girls than in boys.
These people were for the largest part not happy with their appearance. But of course, there are other factors contributing to the onset of depression, as body dissatisfaction only appeared together with high BMI and depression 43% of the time. So apparently, there are other factors that may lead a person with a high BMI to depression apart from being unsatisfied with their body.
Still, 43% is a large number and deserves attention. And while there may be a need to educate kids about appreciating their bodies, there's also a need to prioritize healthy habits without stigmatizing weight. In the end, it's a collective effort to support children's mental health that may save the day.
If you or your child is battling depression or even an eating disorder due to weight concerns, we can help. Please talk to us at Hope Mental Health, let's give you the support you need.