Self-reported depressive symptoms in adolescence increase the risk for obesity and high BP in adulthood


Srinivas, Sharan; Rajendran, Suchithra; Anand, Kavin; & Chockalingam, Anand (2018). Self-reported depressive symptoms in adolescence increase the risk for obesity and high BP in adulthood. International Journal of Cardiology.


Background Negative psychological symptoms may impact cardiovascular (CV) risk factors such as obesity and abnormal blood pressure (BP). Currently, a third of the US population is obese (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2) and nearly half have high BP (BP > 120/80 mmHg). This research aims to investigate whether self-reported depressive symptoms in adolescence affect adulthood obesity and high BP. Methods We leveraged the data from a representative sample of US individuals collected by the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health). We identified the survey questions pertaining to self-reported depressive symptoms in over 14,000 adolescents. Based on their follow-up health test in adulthood, we evaluated the impact of adolescent depressive symptoms on adulthood obesity and high BP by adjusting for socio-demographic, socio-economic and adolescent health status. Results This study reveals a high prevalence of obesity (36%) and high BP (66%) among young US adults with an average age of only 28 years. Excessive moodiness in adolescence significantly impacted development of obesity in early adulthood (p-value <0.001). ‘Feeling sad’ on most days in adolescence significantly increases the risk of obesity (p-value 0.01) and high BP (p-value <0.03) in early adulthood. Conclusions This study demonstrates self-reported moodiness in adolescence to be a significant predictor of obesity in adulthood. Feeling sad on most days increase the subsequent risk for high BP. Early intervention may improve lifestyle and CV outcomes.



Moodiness Depression Feeling sad Adolescence Obesity High BP

Reference Type

Journal Article

Journal Title

International Journal of Cardiology


Srinivas, Sharan
Rajendran, Suchithra
Anand, Kavin
Chockalingam, Anand

Year Published



July 19, 2018



Reference ID