University of Oulu

Eriksson, M.D., Eriksson, J.G., Korhonen, P. et al. Non-melancholic depressive symptoms are associated with above average fat mass index in the Helsinki birth cohort study. Sci Rep 12, 6987 (2022).

Non-melancholic depressive symptoms are associated with above average fat mass index in the Helsinki birth cohort study

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Author: Eriksson, Mia D.1,2; Eriksson, Johan G.2,3,4,5; Korhonen, Päivi6;
Organizations: 1Primary Health Care Unit, Helsinki University Hospital (HUS), Helsinki, Finland
2Folkhälsan Research Center, Helsinki, Finland
3Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland
4Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Human Potential Translational Research Programme, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore
5Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences (SICS), Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore, Singapore
6Department of General Practice, Turku University Hospital and University of Turku, Turku, Finland
7Department of Public Health Solutions, Public Health Promotion Unit, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland
8Clinicum, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
9PEDEGO Research Unit, MRC Oulu, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
10Department of Clinical and Molecular Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
11Gerontology Research Center and Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland
12Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.2 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-10-25


There is an existing link between two of the most common diseases, obesity and depression. These are both of great public health concern, but little is known about the relationships between the subtypes of these conditions. We hypothesized that non-melancholic depressive symptoms have a stronger relationship with both body composition (lean mass and fat mass) and dysfunctional glucose metabolism than melancholic depression. For this cross-sectional study 1510 participants from the Helsinki Birth Cohort Study had their body composition evaluated as lean mass and fat mass (Lean Mass Index [LMI, kg/m2] + Fat Mass Index [FMI kg/m2] = Body Mass Index). Participants were evaluated for depressive symptoms utilizing the Beck depression inventory, and had laboratory assessments including an oral glucose tolerance test. Higher than average FMI was associated with a higher percentage (mean [%], 95% CI) of participants scoring in the depressive range of the Beck depression inventory (20.2, 17.2–23.2) compared to those with low FMI (16.3, 13.8–18.9; p = 0.048) when adjusted for age, sex, education, and fasting plasma glucose concentration. Higher FMI was associated with a higher likelihood of having depressive symptoms (OR per 1-SD FMI = 1.37, 95% CI 1.13–1.65), whereas higher LMI was associated with a lower likelihood of having depressive symptoms (OR per 1-SD LMI = 0.76, 95% CI 0.64–0.91). Participants with an above average FMI more frequently (mean [%], 95% CI) had non-melancholic depressive symptoms (14.7, 11.8–17.7) as compared to those with low FMI (9.7, 7.6–11.9; p = 0.008) regardless of LMI levels. There was no difference between the body composition groups in the likelihood of having melancholic depressive symptoms. The non-melancholic group had higher (mean [kg/m2], SD) FMI (9.6, 4.1) than either of the other groups (BDI < 10: 7.7, 3.1; melancholic: 7.9, 3.6; p < 0.001), and a higher (mean [mmol/l], SD) 2-h glucose concentration (7.21, 1.65) than the non-depressed group (6.71, 1.70; p = 0.005). As hypothesized, non-melancholic depressive symptoms are most closely related to high fat mass index and dysfunctional glucose metabolism.

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Series: Scientific reports
ISSN: 2045-2322
ISSN-E: 2045-2322
ISSN-L: 2045-2322
Volume: 12
Article number: 6987
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-022-10592-3
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3142 Public health care science, environmental and occupational health
Funding: The HBCS has been supported by grants from Finska Läkaresällskapet, the Finnish Special Governmental Subsidy for Health Sciences, Academy of Finland (126775, 127437, 129255, 129306, 129907, 130326, 134791, 209072, 210595, 213225, 263924, 275074 and 315690), Samfundet Folkhälsan, Liv och Hälsa, EU FP7 [Developmental Origins of Healthy Aging (DORIAN)] project number 278603, and EU H2020-PHC-2014-DynaHealth grant 633595 and EU Horizon 2020 Award 733206 LIFECYCLE (all for the Helsinki Birth Cohort Study), European Commission, Horizon2020 award 733280 RECAP, Foundation for Cardiovascular Research, Foundation for Diabetes Research, Foundation for Pediatric Research, Novo Nordisk Foundation, Signe and Ane Gyllenberg Foundation.
EU Grant Number: (733206) LIFECYCLE - Early-life stressors and LifeCycle health
(633595) DYNAHEALTH - Understanding the dynamic determinants of glucose homeostasis and social capability to promote Healthy and active aging
Dataset Reference: The online version contains supplementary material available at
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2022. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit