University of WashingtonYoung women need to pay attention to this piece of news. Obesity, alcohol and depression apparently have a lot of harmful effects on the body. Now, there is new evidence that claims that these three above mentioned factors are believed to be interrelated conditions among young adult women but not men. So gender apparently plays a role in this problem.

Apparently data was collected from people when they were 24, 27 and 30 years of age. Study experts from the University of Washington found that almost half the sample of around 776 young adults tracked during the study apparently met the criteria for one of these conditions at each of these time points.

Carolyn McCarty, the lead author of a new study and a UW research associate professor of pediatrics and psychology, commented, “The proportion of people with all three of these conditions at any one point is small. For women there is a great deal of overlap between these common emotional and health problems that span early adulthood. Men may develop one of these conditions but they don’t tend to lead another one later on.”

McCarty added, “These conditions are major public health problems. They take a toll on families and community and are not subject to quick fixes. It requires a lot of time, money and energy to treat them.”

It was found by the study that women with an alcohol disorder at age 24 apparently had three times more chances to be obese when they were 27. Similarly women who may be obese at 27 supposedly had two times more chances to be depressed when they were around 30. It was also seen that women who were depressed at about age 27 supposedly had an increased possibility for alcohol disorders at 30. It was surprisingly seen that obesity may provide men some defense against later developing depression.

McCarty is of the opinion that there may be two possibilities as to why women with alcohol disorder at 24 apparently had more chances to be obese at 27.

McCarty mentioned, “The caloric intake associated with drinking alcohol may increase metabolic processes leading to weight gain. Or there may be an underlying connection to levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter, in the reward pathway in the brain because the same pathways reward both food and alcohol intake. It also may be that some people substitute food for alcohol, leading to obesity.”

McCarty is of the opinion that the body image may play a major part in why women who are obese at 27 are more possible to account for depression some three years later.

McCarty explained, “Body image is particularly important for women. There seems to be a transfer that when women feel bad they eat more. That can have devastating effects emotionally and physically. But for men experiencing obesity, the reverse is true, and obesity seems to be protective against depression. It’s the so-called ‘jolly fat man’ theory, which suggests that overweight people are actually happier.”

The relation between obesity at 27 and ensuing depression at 30 among women may increase as a consequence of people self-medicating themselves.

McCarty remarked, “People who feel more emotionally down may use alcohol for a quick lift or a short-term boost. The two conditions may be connected by an underlying stress mechanism. Stress is linked to depression, so women under stress potentially eat and drink more.”

The study also illustrated that income may have a considerable effect on obesity at age 24 and those with higher incomes apparently has a lower possibility for weight problem.

McCarty commented, “Early prevention is important because the sooner we start the more impact we can have. Interventions should include stress management so we can provide young people with tools to cope with situations and emotions. We also need to explore underlying factors that predispose people to these conditions, such as a family background that is not supportive or is toxic.”

Data from the study was collected from the on-going Seattle Social Development Project, which has been tracking the life course of an urban group of now young adults since 1985. The group was roughly split between men and women and it comprised of 47 percent white, 26 percent African-American, 22 percent Asian American and 5 percent Native American.

This study was published in the journal General Hospital Psychiatry.