Childhood depression is linked to adult onset of asthma and obesity, according to a study published online this week by International Journal of Obesity. Gregor Hasler and colleagues carried out a longitudinal analysis on 4,547 subjects at 6 points over 25 years starting in 1978. Previous studies have shown a correlation between childhood obesity and adult asthma but here the authors show for the first time an additional link to depression alongside the other conditions.
The authors investigated how many of the participants suffered from childhood depression and compared this with those who later became obese or developed asthma. Using data from a prospective community study collected over a 20-year period they were able to explore the role played by depressive symptoms in asthma-body weight associations.
The study concludes that depressive symptoms during childhood are associated with adult obesity and asthma. This not only aids understanding for certain parts of the pathology of obesity and asthma, it also hints that the neurobiology of depression is different at the time of childhood and adolescence, when compared to adulthood. However the researchers argue that further research into the mechanisms and psychosocial factors is required.
Gregor Hasler, MD (University Hospital, Zurich, Switzerland)
James Ashton (Assistant Editor - Academic Journals, Nature Publishing Group, London, UK)
Abstract available online.
(C) International Journal of Obesity press release.
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