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Drinking, Weight, Depression Linked in Young Women: Study

Treatment for one of these issues should take into account the others, report says

THURSDAY, Sept. 17 (HealthDay News) -- In women under age 30, drinking to excess, overeating and depression may all be tied together, according to new research.

A study in the September/October issue of General Hospital Psychiatry found that women with alcohol abuse issues at age 24 had three times the risk of obesity by age 27. And women who were obese at 27, the researchers found, were twice as likely to be depressed by the time they turned 30.

"When you look across time, alcohol use and obesity predicted later depression. The big picture here is that these disorders, though they're different in manifestation and symptoms, appear to be related for some groups of women," lead study author Carolyn McCarty, a research associate professor at the University of Washington and Seattle Children's Research Institute, said in a news release issued by Health Behavior News Service.

Men in the same age groups did not have the same increased risks, according to the study. How women respond to stress, as well as biological differences in the brain, may play a role in the gender difference, McCarty said

Dr. Gregory Simon, a psychiatrist at the Group Health Center for Health Studies in Seattle who was not involved in the study, noted that many depressed people tend to be overweight. "From a clinical or health care provider perspective, when you think about what to do about one of these problems, you have to think about what to do about the other," he said in the same news release.

More information

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has more about depression.

-- Kevin McKeever

SOURCE: Health Behavior News Service, news release, Sept. 10, 2009

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