OBJECTIVES. In this study we examined the relation between mental health problems and weight in a population-based study of youth aged 12 to 17 years and whether the association between mental health problems and weight is moderated by race and ethnicity. METHODS. We used 2003 National Survey on Children's Health data. Logistic regression was used to arrive at adjusted odds ratios showing the relation between BMI and mental health problems. RESULTS. Compared with their nonoverweight counterparts, both white and Hispanic youth who were overweight were significantly more likely to report depression or anxiety, feelings of worthlessness or inferiority, behavior problems, and bullying of others. Odds ratios relating mental health problems and BMI in black subjects were not statistically significant except for physician diagnosis of depression. CONCLUSIONS. Our results suggest that, when addressing youth overweight status, mental health problems also need to be addressed. Given that the relationship between mental health problems and youth overweight differs according to race/ethnic group, public health programs that target overweight youth should be cognizant of potential comorbid mental health problems and that race/ethnicity may play a role in the relationship between mental health and overweight status.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health