MGH Logo Most people believe that obese adolescents have higher chances of being depressed. Well, if the following study is to be believed, then severely obese teens are less likely to be depressed than normal weight peers. It was also pointed out that white adolescents may be somewhat more vulnerable to psychological effects of obesity than normal weight peers.

In this three-year study, investigators examined the link between severe obesity and depressive symptoms within a community-based sample of non-Hispanic black and white adolescents. Around 51 severely obese participants with a BMI greater than or equal to 40 and higher than 95 percent of their age group between grades 7-12 were analyzed. For understanding depressive symptoms, authors used a standard assessment tool. This tool was utilized at the study outset and reassessed two and three years later.

“As clinicians, we treat the entire person – body and mind – and we can’t assume that weight loss will improve all our patients’ mental health or that negative feelings run hand-in-hand with obesity. Body size appears to have a greater impact on feelings of non-Hispanic White teens’ than non-Hispanic black teens. We should be particularly vigilant about assessing for depression during regular visits among this group,” explained Elizabeth Goodman, MD, the lead author of the study and the director of the Center for Child and Adolescent Health Policy.

High depressive symptoms were allegedly declared among volunteers on antidepressant medication or assessment scores at or above a level known to predict major depressive disorder. Scientists claim that obesity is linked with higher depressive symptoms only in white participants. The study may have great significance in the health zone.

The study is published online in the Journal of Adolescent Health.