Association between depressive symptoms in childhood and adolescence and overweight in later life: Review of the recent literature
Objective: To present an overview of the association between depressive symptoms in childhood and adolescence and subsequent overweight in later life. Data Sources: MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Web of Science for all indexed journals from January 1, 1997, to May 30, 2007. Study Selection: Abstracts of 513 articles were reviewed manually. Studies were excluded if unrelated to depressive symptoms and overweight (n = 460), if they were conducted in an adult population (n = 10) or in a population of all age groups (n = 2), or if they were performed in clinic-based populations of overweight participants. In total, 32 articles were reviewed including 21 cross-sectional and 11 longitudinal reports. Main Exposure: Depressive symptoms in childhood and adolescence. Main Outcome Measure: Overweight. Results: Four cross-sectional studies that satisfied our quality criteria revealed an association between depressive symptoms and overweight in girls aged 8 to 15 years, reporting different effect sizes including a correlation coefficient of 0.14 and a regression coefficient of 0.27. Four longitudinal studies in accord with our quality criteria suggest that depressive symptoms in childhood or adolescence are associated with a 1.90- to 3.50-fold increased risk of subsequent overweight (95% confidence intervals varying from 1.02 to 5.80, respectively). Conclusion: These results support a positive association between depressive symptoms at age 6 to 19 years and overweight in later life, assessed after a period of 1 to 15 years.