Overweight children are more likely to develop mental health issues in adulthood

Overweight children are more likely to develop mental health issues in adulthood

Overweight children are more likely to develop mental health problems such as depression and psychosis in adulthood, the study warns

  • Cambridge University researchers analyzed data from 10,000 people
  • People with high insulin levels in childhood were at higher risk of psychosis
  • Children with an increase in BMI around the onset of puberty have been found to be at higher risk of developing depression – especially girls

According to a new study, children who are overweight are more likely to develop mental health problems in young adulthood.

Cambridge University researchers have discovered a link between physical changes in childhood and mental illness in adulthood.

Worryingly, their results suggest that children with a high body mass index (BMI) are more likely to suffer from depression and psychosis.

The team hopes the results could help pave the way for better prevention measures and the potential for new treatment goals.

Children who are overweight are more likely to develop mental health problems in young adulthood, new study warned (archive image)

IMPORTANT RESULTS

In the study, the team used a sample of over 10,000 people to examine how insulin levels and BMI in childhood can be related to mental health problems in young adulthood.

The results showed that about 75 percent of participants had normal insulin levels, between 15 and 18 percent had insulin levels that gradually increased through puberty, and three percent had high insulin levels.

What is worrying is that these 3 percent are at higher risk of psychosis in adulthood.

Meanwhile, it has been found that children with an increase in BMI at the beginning of puberty have a higher risk of developing depression – especially among girls.

Surprisingly, children who had a persistently high BMI in childhood did not have a significantly increased risk of depression.

This suggests that other factors may play a role in the age of puberty, according to the team.

Dr. Benjamin Perry of the Cambridge Department of Psychiatry and lead author of the study said, “The common belief in the past has been that some people with psychosis and depression may be more likely to eat poorly and exercise less. Hence, all adverse physical health problems are a consequence of the mental disorder or the treatment for it.

‘Essentially, the wisdom received is that the mental disorder comes first.

“However, we have found that this is not necessarily the case, and in some individuals it may be the other way around, suggesting that physical health problems apparent from childhood may be risk factors for psychosis and depression in adults.”

In the study, the team used a sample of over 10,000 people to examine how insulin levels and BMI in childhood can be related to mental health problems in young adulthood.

The results showed that about 75 percent of participants had normal insulin levels, between 15 and 18 percent had insulin levels that gradually increased through puberty, and three percent had high insulin levels.

What is worrying is that these 3 percent are at higher risk of psychosis in adulthood.

Meanwhile, it has been found that children with an increase in BMI at the beginning of puberty have a higher risk of developing depression – especially among girls.

Surprisingly, children who had a persistently high BMI in childhood did not have a significantly increased risk of depression.

The researchers recommend doctors to conduct physical examinations on young people so that early signs of psychosis or depression can be diagnosed and treated at an early stage (archive image).

The researchers recommend doctors to conduct physical examinations on young people so that early signs of psychosis or depression can be diagnosed and treated at an early stage (archive image).

This suggests that other factors may play a role in the age of puberty, according to the team.

Based on the results, the researchers recommend that doctors perform physical exams on young people so that early signs of psychosis or depression can be diagnosed and treated early.

Dr. Perry added, “These results are an important reminder that all young people with mental health problems should be offered a full and comprehensive assessment of their physical health related to their mental health.

“Early intervention is the best way to reduce the mortality gap that sadly faces people with mental disorders such as depression and psychosis.

“The next step will be to find out exactly why persistently high insulin levels from childhood increase the risk of psychosis in adulthood and why increasing BMI around puberty increases the risk of depression in adulthood.”

“This could pave the way for better prevention interventions and the potential for new treatment goals.”

The depression affects ten people at some points

While it’s normal to feel down from time to time, people with depression can feel unhappy for weeks or months.

Depression can affect anyone at any age and is fairly common – approximately one in ten people will likely experience it at some point in their life.

Depression is a real health condition that people cannot simply ignore or “snap out of” it.

Symptoms and effects vary, but may include constant feelings of agitation or hopelessness, or loss of interest in things that you used to enjoy.

It can also cause physical symptoms such as difficulty sleeping, fatigue, loss of appetite or sex drive, and even physical pain.

In extreme cases, thoughts of suicide can arise.

Traumatic events can trigger this, and people with a family history may be at greater risk.

It is important to see a doctor if you think you or someone you know may be suffering from depression as it can be treated with lifestyle changes, therapy, or medication.

Source: NHS selection

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