Depression, its comorbidities and treatment, and childhood body mass index trajectories

Brian S. Schwartz, Thomas A. Glass, Jonathan Pollak, Annemarie G. Hirsch, Lisa Bailey-Davis, Timothy H. Moran, Karen Bandeen-Roche

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Objective: No prior studies have evaluated depression diagnoses and cumulative antidepressant use in relation to longitudinal body mass index (BMI) trajectories in a population-representative sample. Methods: Electronic health record data from 105,163 children ages 8 to 18 years with 314,648 BMI values were used. Depression diagnoses were evaluated as ever versus never, cumulative number of encounters with diagnoses, and total duration of diagnoses. Antidepressants were evaluated as months of use. Associations were evaluated with diagnoses alone, antidepressants alone, and then together, adjusting for covariates. Results: A total of 6,172 (5.9%) and 10,628 (10.1%) children had a diagnosis of depression or received antidepressant treatment, respectively. At all ages, children receiving Medical Assistance (30.9%) were more likely to be treated with antidepressants. Depression diagnosis and antidepressant use were each independently and positively associated with BMI trajectories; associations were stronger with longer durations of diagnosis and treatment. Among children who received 12 or more months of antidepressants (vs. none), the mean (95% CI) weight gain at 18 years associated with antidepressant use (all classes) was 2.10 (1.76–2.45) kg. Conclusions: Depression and antidepressant use were both independently associated with increasing BMIs over time, suggesting an important unintended consequence of healthcare to the obesity epidemic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2585-2592
Number of pages8
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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