Obesity and Depression: An Intertwined Public Health Challenge

Yeshambel Tesfa Nigatu

    Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

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    Obesity and depression are widespread public health problems. Both problems often coexist, and can affect an individual’s health and productivity. We examine in this thesis the prospective association between obesity and depression, and their separate and combined effects on work and health outcomes.
    We found that obesity and depression are inter-related, and the combined effect of obesity and depression on work and health outcomes is fairly larger than that of either condition alone, which implies that obesity and depression reinforce each others effects. The economic costs associated with obesity and depression are high; both the direct costs in terms of health care use (such as physician visits and hospitalizations); and the indirect costs, in terms of long-term sickness absence and work performance impairment.
    In our study, we clearly showed that persons with obesity and depression use more health care resources than persons with obesity alone or depression alone. This suggests that the co-occurrence of the conditions has major direct implications on costs of healthcare and may explain some of the observed increases in total healthcare costs.
    We also showed that persons with obesity and depression have a higher work performance impairment than those persons with obesity or depression alone. This suggests that obesity and depression indeed reinforce each others effects, which may substantially increase societal costs in terms of poor work productivity and well-being. Intervening on obesity may be more beneficial for individuals with major depression than for those without major depression regarding the risk of adverse work and health outcomes.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Groningen
    • Bultmann, Ute, Supervisor
    • Reijneveld, Menno, Supervisor
    Award date25-Nov-2015
    Place of Publication[Groningen]
    Print ISBNs978-90-367-8170-1
    Electronic ISBNs978-90-367-8169-5
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

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