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Association of Body Mass Index and Depressive Symptoms in a Chinese Community Population: Results from the Health Promotion Knowledge, Attitudes, and Performance Survey in Taiwan

Author(s): Nan-Wen Yu | Ching-Yen Chen | Chia-Yi Liu | Yeuk-Lun Chau | Chia-Ming Chang

Journal: Chang Gung Medical Journal
ISSN 2072-0939

Volume: 34;
Issue: 06;
Start page: 620;
Date: 2011;
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Keywords: BMI | depressio | jolly fat hypothesis

Background: The association between obesity and depression remains equivocal. The aimsof this study were to examine the association between body mass index(BMI) and depressive symptoms in the Chinese adult population.Methods: In this study, data from the Health Promotion Knowledge, Attitudes, andPerformance Survey, conducted in 2002 among 20,385 Taiwanese adults(aged 18-64 years), were used. Depressive symptoms were assessed by theTaiwanese Depression Questionnaire (cut off point 19). Weight status wascategorized as underweight (BMI < 18.5 kg/m2), normal weight (BMI 18.5-23.9 kg/m2), overweight (BMI 24-26.9 kg/m2), and obese (BMI Ÿ 27kg/m2).Results: Bivariate analyses revealed that underweight men and women had higherrisks of depressive symptoms than normal weight individuals. After controlling for education, income, occupation, smoking status, marital status, presence of chronic disease, exercise, and weight control measures, we foundthat underweight men were significantly more likely to have depressivesymptoms than normal weight men (Adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 2.68, 95%confidence interval [CI] 1.85-3.88). On the contrary, obese women were significantly less likely to have depressive symptoms than normal weightwomen (AOR 0.62, 95% CI 0.46-0.83).Conclusion: The associations of BMI and depressive symptoms were different betweengenders. Underweight men ran a higher risk of depression than normalweight men, and overweight women had a lower risk than normal weightwomen. These findings support the “jolly fat” hypothesis among the adultpopulation in the Chinese community.

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