Body shape trajectories and incidence of depression in the “Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra” (SUN) prospective cohort Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUNDS AND AIM:The association between trajectories of body-shape from early childhood to early adulthood (first 40 years of life) and subsequent depression risk has not been explored before. We assessed this association in a prospective cohort of university graduates. METHODS:We used a group-based modeling approach to assess the body shape trajectories from age 5 to 40 years, among 3888 women and 4124 men of the "Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra" (SUN) cohort study. All participants were free of depression at the beginning of the follow-up, and the occurrence of a new medical diagnosis of depression was evaluated every two years. RESULTS:Four distinct trajectories for women and men were found ("lean-moderate increase", "medium-stable", "heavy-medium" and "heavy-marked increase" for women and "lean-marked increase", "medium-marked increase", "medium-stable" and "heavy-stable" for men). Among 78,475 person-years of follow-up a total of 351 incident cases of depression were identified. Among women, compared to those who maintained a medium body shape during life span ("medium-stable" trajectory), women who were heavy at childhood and had a marked increase in their body shape during early adult life ("heavy-marked increase" trajectory) showed significantly higher risk of a new-onset depression [HR = 1.92 (1.18-3.13)]. No association was observed in men between body-shape trajectories and subsequent risk of depression. CONCLUSIONS:Our results suggest that in a Mediterranean cohort, women who were heavy at early childhood and showed marked increases in body shape during early adulthood were at higher risk of developing depression later in life.

publication date

  • 2019