Around 24% obese people suffer from mental illness: AIIMS study

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Dr Naval Kishore Vikram

Rohit Shishodia

An obese person can develop a mental illness like depression, reveals the biggest and the most reputed hospital of the national capital, All India Institute of Medical Sciences study.

The study has revealed that around one-fourth (24%) of obese individuals are predisposed to have some sort of mental illness.

The two-year study was conducted by the Department of Medicine of Delhi-AIIMS on 984 obese people but they didn’t have any other disease.

A total of 236 out of 984 obese people were found suffering from severe depression, anxiety, and panic disorder.

According to the findings of the study, a total of 18.66% of people had severe depression, 0.4% anxiety, while 5% had panic disorder.

Surprisingly, around 63% of the participants were not ready to accept or were unaware that they are obese.

One-third of them had Body Mass Index (BMI) higher than 30.

Around two-thirds of the participants had body BMI between 25 and 30. The ideal BMI should not be more than 25.

While speaking to Drug Today Medical Times (DTMT) about the study, Dr. Naval Kishore Vikram, said, “We wanted to know if obese people have more mental health problems or not. Many studies have found links between psychiatric problems and obesity.”

“There is a possibility that mental illness could be due to obesity. We found that around 24% of people have at least one undiagnosed psychiatric problem. Depression was the most common among all the problems. This was the major finding. There was a lack of awareness amongst participants about obesity,” he informed.

“The conclusion is that all the obese people need to be screened for psychiatric problems, which are causing hurdles to treat obesity,” he pointed out.

On preventing obesity, Dr. Vikram said that obesity is preventable and reversible. Both things are possible.

“There is a need to eat homemade food instead of fast or processed food. A nutritional diet including vegetables should be taken and physical activity should be done regularly. Even if a man is obese he has to adopt a healthy lifestyle,” Dr. Vikram said.





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