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UAB – Preventing Depression

August 30, 2012

Obesity and Depression

Food is a major factor. “Diet-associated obesity is a key risk factor for becoming depressed,” Shelton says, “but not for the reason that most people assume. Interestingly, it does not appear to be related to how people feel about how they look. Even in cultures where extra weight is not a big deal, obesity is still associated with depression.”

In fact, obesity itself may not be the prime factor. “It seems that it’s not as much about the weight you gain as what you eat,” Shelton says. “Abdominal obesity is certainly associated with a higher risk of depression, but the balance of fatty acids in the diet seems to be even more important.” Countries that have a very high content of omega 3-rich fish in their diets have very low rates of depression, Shelton explains. In countries where people eat a lot of omega-6 fatty acids in red meat and fried foods, like the United States, depression is much more prevalent.

“We want to establish first of all if that link between fatty acids and depression is true, and we think that it is very likely to be the case,” Shelton says. “Then we plan to do a diet- and exercise-based intervention with either depressed patients or—better yet—children at risk, to see if simply shifting the diet pattern can reduce depressive symptoms or prevent depressio

via UAB – Preventing Depression.

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