Background. Individuals with obesity are 55% more likely to develop depression in their lifetime. Epidemiological evidence supports that depression is one of the most common mental-health comorbidities among adults with obesity. Evidence-based guidelines exist for managing individuals with obesity and depression; however, more information is needed to identify unique needs for the development of behavioral and lifestyle support programs to implement effective, quality interventions in the clinical setting and within the current weight loss program.
Objective. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the level of depression and investigate the correlation between demographic characteristics and depression in clients with obesity enrolled in a weight loss program to guide the development of a behavioral and lifestyle support program.
Methods. A descriptive correlational design was used to determine the level of depression, and correlations between demographic characteristics and depression. A convenience sample of newly enrolled, English-speaking adults (ages 18 or older) with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater were given a 12-item written questionnaire and 9-item depression scale (Patient Health Questionnaire-9 [PHQ-9]) at a local weight loss clinic.
Results. Age, level of education, and difficult in decision making are negatively correlated with level of depression scores. Findings support principles of early recognition and timely intervention of identified health risks for effective and quality healthcare and promotes a foundational, supportive approach to preventing and treating chronic disease.
Conclusion. Therapeutic interventions should be facilitated by strategies to manage depression and obesity related to social aspects with a non-judgmental approach, giving clients options to select a program to fit their physical, emotional, economical, and social needs, while giving them feelings of empowerment in their treatment. Patient-centered treatment of obesity should include behavioral health needs with consideration of health care costs and accessibility and requires sensitivity when considering options for treatment and support.