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.
- Body mass index
- Social isolation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health