Previous research has established that individuals with MDD are at increased risk of obesity. In a recent publication in the Journal of Affective Disorders, researchers employed data from the European Group for the Study of Resistant Depression (GSRD) to examine clinical outcomes associated with BMI in MDD.

The researchers examined data from 892 participants with MDD aged over 18 years that included 580 females with an average age of 50.5 ± 13.6 years.

Employing multiple logistic and linear regressions controlled for age, gender, and risk of weight gain due to psychopharmacotherapy, the researchers examined and compared response and resistance with antidepressant medication, depression rating scale scores, and further clinical and sociodemographic variables.

The study’s primary objective was to examine the impact of BMI on patient outcomes in MDD, and the primary hypothesis was that higher BMI would adversely impact treatment outcomes, possibly leading to augmented resistance to antidepressants.

The results revealed that of the 892 participants with MDD, 322 participants (36.2%) were categorized as treatment responders and 569 (63.8%) were treatment resistant. The authors noted that in their study cohort, 278 (31.1%) were overweight (BMI = 25-29.9 kg/m2), and 151 (16.9%) were obese (BMI >30 kg/m2). Therefore, an estimated 48% of the study population were classified as either overweight or obese.

Based on their findings, the authors wrote, “The most salient finding was that treatment response was not significantly associated with BMI, although there was a statistical trend for treatment resistance to be linked to overweight. However, elevated BMI was significantly associated with longer psychiatric hospitalizations over their lifetimes, earlier MDD onset, greater psychiatric comorbidities, and higher suicidality—especially in obese males.”

The authors indicated that the findings from their retrospective analysis of the multicenter GSRD data revealed that overweight and obese individuals with MDD were at higher risk for suicidality and necessary longer psychiatric inpatient stays.

“A trend-wise association between higher BMI and treatment-resistant depression was also observed. These findings suggest that obese and overweight individuals with MDD should be closely monitored—as should weight gain in individuals with MDD in general—in order to prevent negative psychiatric and somatic medical outcomes,” the authors concluded.

The authors also indicated that additional studies are warranted to investigate the neurobiological mechanisms connecting higher BMI to impaired brain health.

The content contained in this article is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Reliance on any information provided in this article is solely at your own risk.