HOUSTON (KTRK) --Whether you're a high school drop-out or a have a PhD, being an overweight woman can make you sad.
A study by Rice University shows that even with higher education, women who are obese have double the risk of depression compared to women of normal weight with a similar education.
"Previous research has shown an association of depression and obesity with low education, but we're showing it also exists with women who have higher education as well," said Ashley Kranjac, lead author of the study.
The study was published this month by the journal Obesity Research and Clinical Practice. Researchers used the standard weight category for obese I (BMI of 30-34.9).
Kranjac said she was surprised by the results of the study. "Usually higher education is associated with all the good things, like higher income, better neighborhoods, greater access to health care and better overall health, and you'd never think education and obesity combined could have this effect on mental health."
"What this means in terms of treatment programs for clinicians is that they need to consider education and obesity and depressive symptoms in combination when considering treatment options. You can't think of these things in isolation, because they don't work independently of each other," said Kranjac.
The research team pointed out that the study does have some limitations, including not knowing if a participant's depression resulted from weight gain or vice versa.
The study was sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. Kranjac is a postdoctoral fellow in population health in Rice's Department of Sociology and the Kinder Institute for Urban Research.