Obesity and Mental Health in Adolescents
Levy, Jordan (Jordan Elizabeth)
The study examined the relationship between obesity and depression, conduct disorder, and substance abuse in adolescents using data from the 2008 National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Depression at baseline was associated with higher overall z-BMI over time, and display of antisocial behavior at baseline was associated with higher overall z-BMI at baseline but lower overall z-BMI at wave 4. There was no significant association between substance abuse and obesity. Risk factors for adult obesity include being male, having little social support, being sedentary, being Latino, being black, being American-Indian, and perceiving oneself as either overweight or very overweight at baseline. Protective factors against adult obesity include being Asian, perceiving oneself as being at the right weight at baseline, trying to gain or maintain weight, eating two or more servings of vegetables daily, and having a positive outlook on life. The results of the study suggest that mental health interventions as well as nutritional and physical activity interventions may be needed in the primary prevention of obesity.