Body mass index and depressive symptoms in primary care settings: examining the moderating roles of smoking status, alcohol consumption and vigorous exercise
Article first published online: 6 NOV 2013
Published 2013. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA
Volume 4, Issue 1, pages 21–29, February 2014
How to Cite
Hooker, S. A., MacGregor, K. L., Funderburk, J. S. and Maisto, S. A. (2014), Body mass index and depressive symptoms in primary care settings: examining the moderating roles of smoking status, alcohol consumption and vigorous exercise. Clinical Obesity, 4: 21–29. doi: 10.1111/cob.12035
- Issue published online: 10 JAN 2014
- Article first published online: 6 NOV 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 2 SEP 2013
- Manuscript Revised: 17 JUL 2013
- Manuscript Received: 13 FEB 2013
- health behaviors
What is already known about this subject
- Depressive symptoms and obesity are highly prevalent in primary care settings.
- Depressive symptoms and obesity are positively related; as body weight increases, individuals are more likely to display depressive symptoms.
What this study adds
- This study examines the moderating roles of health behaviours (alcohol use, smoking status and vigorous exercise) on the relationship between body mass index and depressive symptoms.
- Exercise attenuates the relationship between depressive symptoms and obesity.
Primary care patients often report multiple health risk behaviours and symptoms, including obesity and depressive symptomatology. This study examined the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and depressive symptomatology among primary care patients and tested its moderation by health behaviours. Primary care patients (n = 497) completed self-report questionnaires. Using three multilevel models, we tested the moderation of health behaviours on the BMI-depressive symptoms relationship. After controlling for relevant covariates, BMI was positively related to depressive symptoms. Smokers reported more depressive symptoms (P < 0.01), whereas vigorous exercisers reported fewer (P < 0.001). Alcohol consumption was not related to depressive symptoms (P > 0.05). Only vigorous exercise significantly moderated the BMI-depression relationship (P < 0.05). BMI is positively related to depressive symptoms among patients who do not participate in vigorous activity, suggesting that vigorous activity reduces the risk for depressive symptoms among patients with higher BMI.