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Troubled Marriage And Depression History Might Lead To Obesity

Update Date: Oct 22, 2014 11:34 AM EDT

Troubled marriage and a history of depression may increase the risk for obesity in adults, a new study has shown. 

According to the study, these two factors increase the risk for obesity in adults by altering how the body processes high-fat foods. 

The study found that men and women with a history of depression, especially involving heating arguments, led to potential metabolic problems after eating high-fat meal. Couples burned fewer calories and had higher levels of insulin and spikes of triglycerides - a form of fat in the blood - after eating a heavy meal when compared to participants without these risk factors. 

"These findings not only identify how chronic stressors can lead to obesity, but also point to how important it is to treat mood disorders. Interventions for mental health clearly could benefit physical health as well," said Jan Kiecolt-Glaser, director of the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research at The Ohio State University and lead author of the study, in the press release. 

"Our results probably underestimate the health risks because the effects of only one meal were analyzed. Most people eat every four to five hours, and often dine with their spouses," added Kiecolt-Glaser, also a professor of psychiatry and psychology. "Meals provide prime opportunities for ongoing disagreements in a troubled marriage, so there could be a longstanding pattern of metabolic damage stemming from hostility and depression."

The study noted that subjects with both mood disorder history and a more hostile marriage burned an average of 31 fewer calories per hour and had an average of 12 percent more insulin in the blood than low-hostility participants. 

The findings of the study were announced at Ohio State, on Monday (10/20) during the New Horizons in Science briefings at ScienceWriters2014, an annual conference hosted this year by Ohio State.

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