Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Depressed women can lose weight as successfully as others do

Showing up for a weight loss program matters most in Group Health study

Women with major depression were no less likely than were women without it to have successful results with a weight loss program, according to an article in the Winter 2009 Behavioral Medicine. Group Health Research Institute Senior Research Associate Evette J. Ludman, PhD, the study leader, concluded that weight loss programs should not exclude depressed people.

Dr. Ludman's study included 190 female Group Health patients age 40 to 65 with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more: 65 with major depressive disorder and 125 without it. The women had not been seeking treatment, but they enrolled in a one-year behavioral weight loss intervention involving 26 group sessions. The intervention, developed at the University of Minnesota over the past 20 years, has proven at least as good as any other currently available non-medical treatment.

Some previous research had hinted that depression might worsen outcomes in behavioral weight loss programs. That's why trials of weight loss interventions typically exclude people with major depression.

"We expected women with major depression to lose less weight, attend fewer sessions, eat more calories, and get less exercise than those without depression," Dr. Ludman said. "We were surprised to find no significant differences between the women who had depression and those who did not have it." Women had lost around the same amount of weight at 6 months (8 or 9 pounds) and 12 months (7 or 8 pounds), with no significant differences between the groups with and without depression.

"Instead, what made a difference was just showing up," she said. Women who attended at least 12 sessions lost more weight (14 pounds at 6 months, and 11 pounds at 12 months) than did those who attended fewer sessions (4 pounds at both 6 and 12 months), regardless of whether they had depression. Being depressed didn't lead them to attend fewer sessions or lose less weight.

"Because of our findings and the well-documented health risks of obesity, we think rigorous efforts should be taken to engage and retain all women in need of such services in intensive weight loss programs," Dr. Ludman said.

For years, Dr. Ludman and her colleagues have been researching the link between depression and obesity. She is also the coauthor of a self-help workbook called Overcoming Bipolar Disorder: A Comprehensive Workbook for Managing Your Symptoms and Achieving Your Life Goals. Her Harvard coauthors include Mark Bauer, MD. Published in 2008, the book outlines the research-based Life Goals Program to help people live with bipolar disorder.

Dr. Ludman's co-authors on this study are Group Health psychiatrist Gregory E. Simon, MD, MPH, who is also a senior investigator at Group Health Research Institute; Biostatistician Laura Ichikawa, MS, Project Manager Belinda H. Operskalski, MPH, and Assistant Investigator David Arterburn, MD, MPH of Group Health Research Institute; Jennifer A. Linde, PhD, and Robert W. Jeffery, PhD, of the University of Minnesota School of Public Health in Minneapolis; Paul Rohde, PhD, of the Oregon Research Institute in Eugene; and Emily A. Finch, MA, of Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis.

The National Institute of Mental Health and the Office of Behavioral Social Sciences Research funded this study.

Group Health Research Institute

Founded in 1947, Group Health Cooperative is a Seattle-based, consumer-governed, nonprofit health care system. Group Health Research Institute ( changed its name from Group Health Center for Health Studies on September 8, 2009. Since 1983, the Institute has conducted nonproprietary public-interest research on preventing, diagnosing, and treating major health problems. Government and private research grants provide its main funding.

Please visit the virtual newsroom on our Web site, at

Joan DeClaire | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht NIH scientists describe potential antibody treatment for multidrug-resistant K. pneumoniae
14.03.2018 | NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

nachricht Researchers identify key step in viral replication
13.03.2018 | University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>