A new research revealed that obese girls are more likely to develop depression during childhood and adolescence than their peers who weigh less.
Compared to girls at a healthy weight, girls with obesity were 44 percent more likely to have depression or to be diagnosed with it in the future, the analysis of 22 studies with a total of almost 144,000 participants found.
According to Reuters, just being overweight rather than obese, however, didn’t appear to influence the risk of depression for girls, and there wasn’t any association between weight and depression in boys.
The smaller studies included in the analysis were not controlled experiments designed to prove whether or how obesity might cause depression, or the role that gender might play.
But, Lead Author Dr. Shailen Sutaria of Imperial College London in the UK said it is possible that boys and girls might have different perceptions about body image that at least partially explain the results.
“While a number of factors may be involved, clearly there are additional social pressures on girls to be a certain body shape, perpetuated and amplified though social media,” Sutaria added by email.
Girls who experience body dissatisfaction may develop symptoms of depression as a result, Sutaria added. But overweight or obese boys might think differently about their size.
“Boys may find it desirable to be larger as this reflects strength and dominance, traits that are likely to be desirable during childhood,” Sutaria said.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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