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Association between elevated body mass index and depression among Latino primary care patients

20 July 2012


The high prevalence of overweight and obesity is a significant current public health problem in the United States, and prevalence is higher in the Latino population than in Caucasians. The present study evaluated the relationship between obesity and depression in Latino primary care patients and explored potential moderators. The approach was to review archival data from the Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center clinics (cities of Hillsboro, Cornelius, Beaverton, and McMinnville, Oregon). Information on patient demography and depression was collected using the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) and body mass index (BMI), for adult Latino patients who attended a primary care appointment at the Virginia Garcia clinics between January 2009 and February 2012. The results indicated no significant association between obesity (BMI ≥30.0) and depression (PHQ-9 score ≥10) in this sample of Latino primary care patients. However, obese Latino women had significantly higher prevalence of depression than obese Latino men, which is consistent with results of previous studies on other populations. Given the high prevalence of obesity in the Latino population, future research should explore means of ameliorating this and associated problems, such as mental disorders.


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