Leutner et al. provide evidence of a link between having obesity and later developing a diagnosed mental health condition.

Receiving a diagnosis of obesity significantly increased the odds for a large spectrum of psychiatric disorders across all age groups, including depression, psychosis-spectrum, anxiety, eating and personality disorders.

Whilst there’s evidence elsewhere towards the direction of causation between obesity and mental illness potentially running both ways, in this case the diagnosis of obesity usually came first.

There are many theories as to why this connection might exist presented, ranging from biological explanations such as inflammation or gut bacteria, through to more psychosocial factors, including the impact of obesity on one’s quality of life.

It also affects different demographics differently, with the risk of being later diagnosed with a mental health condition being higher in younger people and females (even beyond the usual differential in mental health diagnosis rates).

In any case we might add enhanced mental health support as a requirement for supporting people living with obesity.