Obesity and mental health

Justyna Dąbrowska, Magdalena Wójcik, Ilona Samek, Magdalena Jańczyk, Damian Bator, Joanna Milanowska

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12775/JEHS.2020.10.06.022


Introduction: Obesity is definied as having an excess of body weight caused by a chronic caloric imbalance with more calories being consumed than expended each day. There are over 2.1 billion individuals with obesity around the world. Body mass index (BMI), which is weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared, is used to identify individuals with obesity. For adults, a BMI of 25.0 to 29.9 kg/m2 is defined as overweight and a BMI of 30 kg/m2 or higher is defined as obese.

The aim of the study: The purpose of this systemic review was to collect and analyse current and new information on obesity, its impact on mental health and vice versa.

Material and method: Standard criteria were used to review the literature data. The search of articles in the PubMed database was carried out using the following keywords: obesity, mental health, diet, depression, anxiety.

Description of the state of knowledge: There are numerous studies about obesity and other factors. Obesity can be the cause of depression, often due to stigma and discrimination, however depression could be also a reason of development of obesity. There was found bidirectional relationship – obesity increased the risk of depression by 55% and depression increased the risk of obesity by 58%. Studies show that anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may be associated with obesity and considered as its risk factor. Another disorders, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) may also cause obesity.

Summary: Obesity has complicated and multifactorial etiology. Discovered dependencies and conducted research will allow to find new therapeutic paths and isolate people at risk. However more research is needed to fully understand problem  of obesity and all its dependencies.


obesity; mental health; diet; depression; anxiety

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Journal of Education, Health and Sport formerly Journal of Health Sciences

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