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

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.

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.

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.

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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