In an analysis of primary care records of 519,513 UK adults who were overweight or obese between 2000-2016 and followed up until 2019, the incidence of new cases of depression was 92 per 10,000 people per year. The risk of depression also rose with higher weight, according to the Obesity analysis.
The study also found that antidepressants were prescribed in approximately two-thirds of adults who were overweight or obese. Prescriptions for fluoxetine dropped over time (from 20.4% in 2000 to 8.8% in 2018) and prescriptions for sertraline increased (from 4.3% in 2000 to 38.9% in 2018).
“Our findings highlight the complex relationship between depression and obesity,” said lead author Freya Tyrer, of the University of Leicester, in the UK. “We would like to see tailored guidance on antidepressant prescribing and services that focus on both mood and behaviours to improve outcomes for these individuals.”