A systematic review and analysis of cohort studies by Anna Chapman—has found a longitudinal association between cardiovascular risk factors and depression in young people.
Depression is a common and serious mental illness that begins early in life. An association between cardiovascular disease (CVD) and subsequent depression is clear in adults.
This study examined associations between individual CVD risk factors and depression in young people. And found that targeting childhood/adolescent smoking and obesity may be important for the prevention of both CVD and depression across the lifespan.
Searching MEDLINE, EMBASE, and PsycINFO databases from inception to 1 January 2020, Anna extracted data from cohort studies assessing the longitudinal association between CVD risk factors [body mass index (BMI), smoking, systolic blood pressure (SBP), total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein] and depression, measured using a validated tool in individuals with mean age of 24 years or younger.
Random effect meta-analysis was used to combine effect estimates from individual studies, including odds ratio (OR) for depression and standardised mean difference for depressive symptoms.
Based on meta-analysis of seven studies, comprising 15 753 participants, high BMI was associated with subsequent depression [pooled OR 1.61; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.21–2.14; I2 = 31%]. Based on meta-analysis of eight studies, comprising 30 539 participants, smoking was associated with subsequent depression (pooled OR 1.73; 95% CI 1.36–2.20; I2 = 74%). Low, but not high, SBP was associated with an increased risk of depression (pooled OR 3.32; 95% CI 1.68–6.55; I2 = 0%), although this was based on a small pooled high-risk sample of 893 participants. Generalisability may be limited as most studies were based in North America or Europe.
Further research on other CVD risk factors including blood pressure and cholesterol in young people is required.