Teens who were depressed as children are far more likely than their peers to be obese, smoke cigarettes and lead sedentary lives, even if they no longer suffer from depression.
The research, by scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the University of Pittsburgh, suggests that depression, even in children, can increase the risk of heart problems later in life.
The researchers report their findings March 15 at the annual meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society in Miami, Fla.
“Part of the reason this is so worrisome is that a number of recent studies have shown that when adolescents have these cardiac risk factors, they’re much more likely to develop heart disease as adults and even to have a shorter lifespan,” says first author Robert M. Carney, PhD, a professor of psychiatry at Washington University. “Active smokers as adolescents are twice as likely to die by the age of 55 than nonsmokers, and we see similar risks with obesity, so finding this link between childhood depression and these risk factors suggests that we need to very closely monitor young people who have been depressed.”
Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education