The Connection Between Weight and Depression

A Toronto-based clinic treats its obese patients not just by eating healthy and being in an active lifestyle, but also in treating depression.

The Lifestyle Metabolism Centre (LMC) conducts a 15-month study testing out the effectiveness of their treatment. The program includes consultations with a dietician to help patients in nutritional counseling, a kinesiologist to address lifestyle and activity issues, and a novel addition of an occupational therapist to facilitate behavior modification.

Of the 141 patients who completed the six-month initial phase of the program, 61% were successful at losing their respective goal weight of at least 5% of their body weight, averaging a weight loss of 10 kilograms. The patients were measured again after nine months, and 63.6% of them had maintained the weight loss or had lost even more weight.

What is most striking was that mean depression scores among successful patients improved by up to 57.2%, while anxiety scores improved by an average of 39.4% and mean quality of life scores increased by 8.9%.

LMC stressed that their anti-depression treatment avoids the need for medications and claims that the results are better than those from antidepressants.

However, clinic states that improvements in depression did not correlate with weight loss, reflecting the importance of the improved activity and other measures of success achieved in part with consultations with the occupational therapists, outside of weight.