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To investigate associations between measured and perceived weight, and symptoms of depression in rural Australian adolescents. At baseline a prospective rural adolescent cohort study collected demographic data, measured weight and height, weight self-perception, and presence of depression (Short Mood and Feelings Questionnaire). Using World Health Organisation's (WHO) age and gender body mass index (BMI) standardisations, participants were classified into four perceptual groups: PG1 healthy/perceived healthy; PG2 overweight/perceived overweight; PG3 healthy/perceived overweight; and PG4 overweight/perceived healthy. Logistic regression analyses explored relationships between these groups and symptoms of depression. Data on adolescents (n = 339) aged 9-14. PG1 contained 63% of participants, PG2 18%, PG3 4% and PG4 14%. Across the cohort, 32% were overweight and 13% had symptoms of depression. PG2 (overweight/perceived overweight) were more likely to experience symptoms of depression than PG1 (healthy/perceived healthy; Adjusted Odds Ratio [AOR] 3.1, 95% CI 1.5-6.7). Females in PG3 (healthy/perceived overweight) were more likely to experience symptoms of depression (38%) than males (14%) and females in PG1 (10%, AOR 5.4, 95% CI 1.1-28.2). Results suggest that perceptions of being overweight may be a greater predictor for symptoms of depression than actual weight. This has public health implications for youth mental health screening and illness prevention.

Citation

Samuel Skidmore, Catherine Hawke, Georgina Luscombe, Philip Hazell, Katharine Steinbeck. Weight perception and symptoms of depression in rural Australian adolescents. Australasian psychiatry : bulletin of Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists. 2021 May 16:10398562211009250


PMID: 33993753

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