The advancements in medical science have eased many of the problems related to health in the past century. For example, the diseases responsible for a big number of deaths in the past centuries such as tuberculosis are no longer untreatable.
In addition, there is continuous research on how to prevent such health conditions in the first place. However, new health challenges have now replaced the previous ones. Researchers and health professionals consider many of these a global problem now.
Perhaps the biggest example of this is the ever-increasing issue of obesity. Statistically, millions of Americans are diagnosed with obesity and many related conditions. In people who suffer from obesity, many also have symptoms of depression.
According to research, both of these conditions are related and may worsen one and other in a person. Hence, the result is an increase in the intensity and harmful effects of both obesity and depression while also paving the way for more health conditions to develop.
Typically, both conditions have their own individual treatments whose effectiveness depends on the case. However, new research challenges this approach of treatment and adopts a rather holistic way of dealing with both issues.
The lead author of the study Dr. Jun Ma, who is a professor of internal medicine and geriatrics at the University of Illinois at Chicago, says a combined approach may be better than separate treatments.
Read the study in JAMA Medical Journal here.
How Was the Study Conducted?
To know more about the effectiveness of combined treatments, the researchers conducted a twelve months study which included more than four hundred people. During the 12 month period, the participants received different types of treatments.
For instance, around half of the people were part of the behavioral weight loss program while also receiving therapy sessions for depression based on problem-solving. Anti-depressants and medicines were also used in the procedure.
The whole procedure was divided into two parts. In the first one, the participants received intensive treatment while the second half was more focused on maintenance.
In this time, people had both telephonic and face-to-face interactions. The weight loss side included techniques such as self-study to motivate the participants to lose at least 5-10 percent of their weight with increased physical activity and dietary changes.
On the other hand, the control group in the study carried on with their usual treatment done by their concerned health professionals.
After the twelve months period passed, the group which received therapy for both depression and obesity had more reductions in the severity of both conditions in comparison with the participants in the control group.
Even though the results were positive, the researchers stated that these results may not have much clinical importance. This is because the participants included in the research consisted only of well-educated, white women.
Hence, it is not clear whether the effects will be similar in groups belonging to the socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds.
In addition, the team is not sure that the reductions in both depression and weight are permanent or not as well as whether the participants will be able to keep the changes.
What Is the Link Between Depression And Obesity?
Today, there is increased research on studying the link between different health conditions. Many times, problems that no one can imagine to have an effect on each other are connected.
In accordance with the Centre For Disease Control and Prevention, 43 percent of the people suffering from obesity also have depression. Furthermore, research also shows that people who are obese are more likely to develop depression than those who are not overweight.
However, until the conclusion of this study is not proven, it is better to receive treatment for either of the conditions on time to avoid further complications.