HealthDay News – The atypical subtype of major depressive disorder (MDD) strongly predicts obesity, according to researchers.

“Depression and obesity are two prevalent disorders that have been repeatedly shown to be associated. However, the mechanisms and temporal sequence underlying this association are poorly understood,” wrote Aurélie M. Lasserre, MD, from the Lausanne University Hospital in Switzerland, and colleagues.

In order to determine correlation between obesity and depression, investigators conducted a prospective population-based cohort study involving 3,054 randomized residents of the city of Lausanne (mean age, 49.7 years; 53.1% female). Their findings were published in JAMA Psychiatry.

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Participants underwent physical and psychiatric baseline and physical follow-up evaluations. Diagnostic criteria were established by a semistructured Diagnostic Interview for Genetic Studies, eliciting baseline and follow-up, lifestyle and sociodemographic characteristics, and medication.

Only participants with the atypical subtype of MDD at baseline had a higher increase in adiposity than participants without MDD, the researchers found during follow-up.

After adjustments for a wide range of possible cofounders, significant associations persisted between the atypical subtype of MDD and BMI (β=3.19), incidence of obesity (odds ratio, 3.75), waist circumference in both sexes (β=2.44), and fat mass in men (β=16.36).

“The atypical subtype of MDD is a strong predictor of obesity,” wrote the researchers. “This emphasizes the need to identify individuals with this subtype of MDD in both clinical and research settings.”

“Therapeutic measures to diminish the consequences of increased appetite during depressive episodes with atypical features are advocated.”