Can obesity cause depression? A pseudo-panel analysis

Hyungserk Ha, Chirok Han, Beomsoo Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: The US ranks ninth in obesity in the world, and approximately 7% of US adults experience major depressive disorder. Social isolation due to the stigma attached to obesity might trigger depression. Methods: This paper examined the impact of obesity on depression. To overcome the endogeneity problem, we constructed pseudo-panel data using the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System from 1997 to 2008. Results: The results were robust, and body mass index (BMI) was found to have a positive effect on depression days and the percentage of depressed individuals in the population. Conclusions: We attempted to overcome the endogeneity problem by using a pseudo-panel approach and found that increases in the BMI increased depression days (or being depressed) to a statistically significant extent, with a large effect size.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)262-267
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jul


  • Body mass index
  • Depression
  • Obesity
  • Social isolation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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