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HPA&E Studies : Journal Publications

Association between Obesity and Depressive Symptoms among US Military Active Duty Service Personnel, 2002

Author: Kress AM, Hartzell MC, Peterson MR

Objective:
The association between obesity and depression remains equivocal. The purpose of this study was to describe the prevalence and association of obesity and depressive symptoms among military personnel.

Methods:
A cross-sectional analysis was performed using data (n=10,040) from the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Survey of Health Related Behaviors. Prevalence odds ratios were calculated to describe the association between obesity and depressive symptoms.

Results:
Approximately 10% of active duty men and 4% of active duty women were obese. The prevalence of depressive symptoms ranged from approximately 16% of overweight men, to 49% of obese women. Obese men and women, and underweight men, had increased odds of depressive symptoms compared to normal weight individuals.

Conclusions:
The DoD should emphasize prevention and regular screening for obesity and depressive symptoms in order to improve readiness and reduce health care costs and disease burden in this cohort.

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