Mothers treating depression effectively with Effexor could be less likely to have obese children

Two recent studies reveal a link between maternal depression and childhood obesity.

Two recent studies reveal a link between maternal depression and childhood obesity. It's likely that when mothers are able to effectively treat their depression with medications like Effexor, their children are less likely to become obese.

A longitudinal study by researchers at East Tennessee State University  that was published in the July 2013 edition of the journal Maternal Child Health  found that compared to children of mothers who did not have depression, those whose mothers did have depression were 1.695 times more likely to be overweight. The study followed 1,090 children and measured whether the mother had depression when each child was one, two and three years old. Then, weight and height measurements were taken while children were in grades one, three and six.

Researchers additionally discovered that when mothers were afflicted by depression during each of these early childhood time periods, their children were 2.13 times more likely than others to be overweight.

Though the authors did not speculate on the reasons for the association, one could guess that because depression generally causes people to be less active and motivated, mothers who are depressed are less likely to do active things with their child or prepare healthy meals. These actions often take effort that those who are depressed have a difficult time mustering, depending on the severity of one's symptoms.

Obesity-promoting practices
A similar study by researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine that was published in the July 2013 issue of Academic Pediatrics found similar results: Mothers who were depressed were more likely to have overweight and obese children. However, this study went a step further in determining whether maternal depression was associated with obesity-promoting practices, including more screen time, less outdoor activity, mealtime practices and feeding styles.

The study looked at 401 mother-child pairs, of which all children were 5 years old. Children whose mothers were moderately to severely depressed were 2.62 times more likely to be overweight. The research also found that kids with mildly depressed mothers were less likely to eat breakfast and more likely to have sugary drinks and eat out, and they had less sleep and outdoor play time than other children. Additionally, depressed mothers were less likely to model healthy eating, set limits and restrict their children's food intake.

These studies reveal that treating maternal depression is important for mothers as well as raising healthy children. Effexor could be an effective treatment, but it's important for mothers to consult with their doctors to determine the best depression treatment.