Obesity affects a person’s self-image, self-esteem, but causes social isolation, all known contributors of depression
Ghaziabad, 13th April 2017: Even as India battles malnutrition, the country has developed another nutritional problem — obesity. The WHO defines obesity as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that impairs a person’s health. On the occasion of World Health Day, doctors at Columbia Asia Hospitals, Ghaziabad are drawing attention to the growing incidence of obesity in this country and its implications on mental well-being.
In people with normal weight, fat tissue contains fat cells, but in obese people, fat tissue is loaded with macrophages, cells that ingest pathogens and other foreign materials and release inflammatory hormones such as TNF-alpha and interleukin-6 that constantly activate the immune system at a low level, therefore contributing to a chronic depressive state.
People with obesity are more likely to experience a mood disorder like depression as compared to people who are not obese. Obesity also affects a person’s self-image, lower their self-esteem, and cause social isolation, all known contributors to depression. Those who are obese can also find themselves ostracized, stereotyped, and discriminated against. The extra weight carried around by obese people can result in chronic joint pain making individuals less able to get around, enjoy life or exercise. Serious diseases like diabetes and hypertension that are often a byproduct of obesity are also linked to depression.
Depression per se exposes a person to obesity by inducing Hyperphagia/Increased food intake. The increased food intake is of substances which are likely to elevate mood, like Cocoa/ Chocolate, cheese, etc. this in turn leads to obesity.
“It is important to note that people who are borderline obese and depressed become substantially obese in the years to follow. Depressed people are more likely to overeat and make poor food choices, avoid exercising and lead sedentary lifestyles. People affected by obesity are often self-conscious about their appearance or their physical abilities. They withdraw or are excluded from social activities. They find themselves feeling more isolated from friends, co-workers and loved ones. All the while, their feelings of self-worth continue to fall. At the same time, obesity is affecting other organ systems, causing shortness of breath, aches, sleep troubles, chest pains and digestive problems – all of which can trigger feelings of sadness and despair, hallmarks of depression”, says Dr Amulya Seth.
Moderators such as gender, age, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status affect the way obesity/depression is experienced by an individual. These factors define how a person deals with their situation and in turn, how easily they are able to cope. It may not be so easy to shed off that extra weight with feelings of dissatisfaction, sadness and frustration. If you feel your mood is affecting your eating habits and causing you to be less active, seek treatment immediately. Identifying the problem at an early stage goes a long way in fighting signs of depression as well as obesity. A team approach in terms of treatment is needed to deal with this epidemic.
“People receiving treatment for depression as well as overcoming obesity, need to keep in mind the physical and emotional strain of their efforts. It is important to determine if changes in weight, appetite, energy, self-esteem, and related issues are the result of the depression treatment or have been influenced by the weight loss effort. At times, therapy-related improvements in mood or outlook can be masked by stresses related to weight setbacks. Similarly, improved energy and motivation because of effective medication management may be counteracted by exhaustion related to changes in diet or exercise patterns. As with any mental healthcare case, the most effective depression treatment for an obese person will be holistic in nature to identify and address all issues that may be influencing the patient’s continued mental and physical health problems” adds DrAmulya Seth.
Columbia Asia Hospitals strongly believes that focusing on treatment is no longer the only option; equal emphasis needs to be put on preventive education.
“Obesity has become a major concern in India in recent years and has also affected children. This is one of the factors that is further contributing to the rising incidence of diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. It is very important to institute awareness and prevention programs in schools and educate children to stay away from junk food that is a major culprit. At the same time, children must be encouraged to participate in sports activities regularly to avoid harmful effects of sedentary behavior,” says DrAmulya Seth.
About Columbia Asia Hospitals Pvt. Ltd.Columbia Asia Hospitals Pvt. Ltd. is the only company in India to utilize 100% foreign direct investment (FDI) route in the hospital sector.
About Columbia Asia Group of Companies The Columbia Asia Group is owned by more than 150 private equity companies, fund management organizations and individual investors. The group currently operates eleven facilities in India and has presence in Ghaziabad, Bangalore, Gurgaon, Ghaziabad, Kolkata, Mysore, Patiala and Ghaziabad. The company also operates hospitals in Malaysia (11), Vietnam (3), and Indonesia (3). The Indian management operations are managed from its office in Bangalore.