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Obesity And Depression Act Independently To Drive Up Health Costs

October 31, 2011: 12:00 AM EST
Previous research had drawn an association between depression and obesity and higher health care costs, but a new study says the two conditions do not act together to boost costs. Researchers used telephone interviews to determine obesity and depression, then analyzed medical records to calculate health care costs for 4,462 women aged 40-65. Obesity was measured as body mass index (BMI); depression was measured with a 9-item American Psychiatric Association questionnaire. The researchers found that in middle-aged women, health care costs increased 65 percent in women with a BMI of 30-35, and 157 percent in women with a BMI higher than 35. Health care costs increased with higher depression scores, but depression did not significantly impact the obesity cost results.
Gregory E. Simon et al., " Obesity, Depression, and Health Services Costs Among Middle-Aged Women", Journal of General Internal Medicine, October 31, 2011, © Springer
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