Obesity and Teen Depression in Young Girls


A study conducted at the Rutgers-Camden University has revealed that young girls who are obese are more likely to be affected by teen depression and the converse is true also in several cases. In this study, the researchers have evaluated more than 1,500 young people between ages 11 and 24 and this research spanned a period of about 10 years. At the end of this period, the researchers could conclude that young girls who have depression when they are at the threshold of adolescence have a tendency to be affected by obesity during the last phase of their adolescence. 

What about links between depression and obesity in male teens?

Further, those girls who are obese during the later part of their adolescence are found to be more likely to be affected by depression during their early adulthood. Surprisingly, researchers could not find any such links between obesity and teen depression in young boys.

Reasons for obesity in depressed teenage girls

According to these researchers, lethargy, reduced activity levels and changes in sleeping and eating patterns may be the a few of the main reasons for causing obesity in depressed teenage girls. In addition to that, a number of girls may have increased appetite also due to which they may become fat. On the other hand, obesity may lead to teen depression due to what is called weight stigma. Being inactive in the midst of social circles may also contribute to depression.

These researchers add that when young children enter their teenage, they are in the process of developing their eating as well as activity patterns. They may also be learning coping mechanisms for a variety of their issues they encounter. But when they are affected by depression, they may become victims to unhealthy eating and activity patterns that are likely to persist for a very long duration.

Problems faced by obese depressed teenage girls

Children who are fat are likely to get carried away by negative messages about their obesity problem. They may also face problems like teasing or bullying by other children and these may contribute significantly for their depression problem. Further, when they are entering teenage, they may slowly be becoming self-conscious. Their obesity may hamper their efforts to establish concrete relationships with their friends. Teasing by others may be a big hurdle in their attempts to develop relationships and it may also cause teen depression in these young girls.

Parents’ role

Parents of these affected teenage girls should make prevention efforts but these efforts should be aimed at both the problems of obesity and depression. Even if one of the problems is diagnosed and treated, it can help in reducing the impact of the other. This means the doctor who treats the teenage girls for depression may try to incorporate healthy eating suggestions and an activity-oriented life into the treatment process. The doctor may introduce a suitable exercises regimen also into the treatment process so that both obesity and teen depression can be prevented from becoming serious.

But researchers are surprised that there are no apparent links between teen depression and obesity in boys. They opine that this may perhaps be due to the differences in the developmental processes of males and those of females.

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