Study Links Obesity, Hypertension, Depression

SEPTEMBER 01, 2006
Susan Farley

New research may have established a connection between high blood pressure and depression with obesity as an important link. The study included 1017 people participating in the Bogalusa Heart Study. The age range was 12 to 62 years; 60% were white; 52% were women; and most participants were overweight but not obese. Of the study participants, about one third were presumed to have depression, while 13.4% had high blood pressure. Researchers from the Louisiana State University Health Science Center asserted that the symptoms of depression were indirectly related to high blood pressure, with a common factor being increased body weight. The study, which appeared in the American Journal of Hypertension, suggests that "special care should be taken to address symptoms of depression," because people who are depressed are more likely to be overweight. One researcher suggested developing an effective weight loss plan followed by a hypertension prevention program.

Ms. Farley is a freelance medical writer based in Wakefield, RI.