Atypical depressive symptoms and obesity in a national sample of older adults with major depressive disorder

Kee Lee CHOU, Kar Ming YU

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The objectives of this study are to present findings on the rate of obesity associated with classic, atypical, and undifferentiated depression by comparing with those without depression in a nationally representative sample of United States older adults. Methods: The authors used data from the 2001 to 2002 National Epidemiologic Survey of Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC), which included 10,557 adults 60 years of age and older. Chi-square tests were used to compare classic, atypical, and undifferentiated as well as nondepressed control in sociodemographic characteristics. Then, logistic regressions adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics were used to evaluate associations of rate of current obesity (defined as Body Mass Index (BMI) > 30) across the three depressive groups (classic, atypical, and undifferentiated depression) and nondepressed control. Lifetime, current, and past depression were examined. Results: Significant differences were found between atypical and classic depression in sex, age, marital status, race, and personal income. After adjusting for sex, age, marital status, race, and personal income, the rate of obesity was significantly greater for respondents with atypical depression than respondents with classic, undifferentiated depression, or without depression. Same results were found in lifetime, current, and past depression. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that the heterogeneity of depression should be considered when examining the effect of depression on obesity in old age. Prevention measures should be designed and delivered to older adults with atypical depression. Copyright © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)574-579
JournalDepression and Anxiety
Issue number6
Early online dateApr 2013
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013



Chou, K.-L., & Yu, K.-M. (2013). Atypical depressive symptoms and obesity in a national sample of older adults with major depressive disorder. Depression and Anxiety, 30(6), 574-579.


  • Major depressive disorder
  • Atypical depression
  • Obesity
  • Older adults