The Bidirectional Relationship of Obesity and Depression

The Bidirectional Relationship of Obesity and Depression

In a study conducted by the Australian Government Department of Health, it was determined that in 2019, 67.0% of people living in Australia were classified as overweight or obese. This equates to roughly two thirds of the country.


Additionally, The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has concluded that depression is one of the most prevalent mental health conditions among Australians of all ages and is commonly found in Australians who are obese.


So, what’s the connection?


Obesity is defined as a condition of a person’s weight being above what’s considered healthy, and is typically measured with a BMI (Body Mass Index) over 30.


Depression is defined as a group of conditions that can affect both your physical and mental health associated with lowering or severely altering a person’s mood.


As both obesity and depression are extremely predominant conditions globally, there have been several studies that contemplate the bidirectional relationship between the two afflictions.


This is a bit of a “chicken or the egg” dilemma; which one came first, or in this instance, which condition triggers the other?


Ultimately, neither one triggers another, they are evidently just interconnected. Meaning that whichever condition is present; obesity or depression, the other condition could derive from that.


What Obesity and Depression Studies Have Found


A study “Evidence for prospective associations among depression and obesity in population‐based studies” was done by the Obesity Reviews publication in which they examined 25 other studies that tested both obesity-to-depression pathways and depression-to-obesity pathways.


Conclusively, this study revealed that when obesity was examined as a predictor of depression; “Obese participants had higher rates of depression at follow‐up than non‐obese.”


As well, this study in which depression is examined as a predictor of obesity; “Participants with depression at had higher risk of obesity at follow‐up.”


The International Journal of Obesity conducted a study based on elderly and middle-aged women to examine this particular interconnectivity between diagnosed obesity and diagnosed depression.


After extensive research, this study concluded that there are several factors that link depression and obesity with one another:


“Those who experience depression are commonly found as more likely to make poor diet choices, overeat, and eat for comfort, boredom, or compensation. It is also extremely common that people with depression become more sedentary; isolating themselves and experience loss of motivation for physical activity. Psychological stress is also the principle determinant that factors hormone and chemical imbalances which prompt issues such as weight gain, heart disease, and sleep apnoea. This causes further lethargy and aggravates depressive traits.”


Can Surgical Weight Loss Treat Both Obesity and Depression?


At surgical weight loss centre, your treatment is about more than just a surgery. Our treatments are an interweaving of support, safety, and overall success.


Support: Whether you’re doing this on your own or have a lot of family and friends supporting you, we want to make sure that you’re getting the psychosocial, emotional, and physical support you need throughout your journey.


Safety: This journey should be a life changing one and it requires a patient who is ready to not only go through body and lifestyle changes, but psychological ones as well. We want you to be sound and eager before you begin your journey. We will not undergo a surgical procedure without making sure that you and your loved ones are mentally prepared for the transformation. This will help pave a smooth road for your journey.


Success: We strive to give you the most out of your journey, and if that means helping you with difficult lifestyle transitions, we take on the challenge with passion and commitment.

We cannot guarantee that undergoing surgical weight loss will fix or solve depression, but we are aware that it is extremely important to address both the physical and psychological aspects of bariatric surgery.

When you visit the Surgical Weight Loss Centre, we like to provide patients with holistic treatment.


At your appointments we’ll look at more than your weight and BMI. We also talk to you about your mental health, daily habits, support system and lifestyle as we understand that these aspects can have an influence on your weight loss journey.


Each experience is individualised by tailoring your journey specifically to your circumstances.


Contact Us:


If you are feeling that you may need help with your weight loss journey, get in contact with us. We encourage anyone to reach out for enquiries regarding any of these topics as we would be more than happy to support you throughout your journey, from the first step, to the after photos, and even further after the journey is completed.



Faith, M.S., Butryn, M., Wadden, T.A., Fabricatore, A., Nguyen, A.M. and Heymsfield, S.B. (2011). ‘Evidence for prospective associations among depression and obesity in population‐based studies’. Obesity Reviews, 12: e438-e453. doi:10.1111/j.1467-789X.2010.00843.x


Pan, A., Czernichow, S., Kivimaki, M., Okereke, OI., Lucas, M., Manson, JE., Ascherio, A. & Hu, FB. (2012). ‘Bidirectional association between depresson and obesity in middle-aged and older women’. International Journal of Obesity, 36, 595-602. Doi: 10.1038/ijo.2011.111