Association between obesity and depression: Evidence from a longitudinal sample of the elderly in Taiwan
Chang, H.H., and S. T. Yen.  2012.  Aging and Mental Health, Vol. 16, issue 2, 2012, pp. 173-180.

Objectives: Obesity has been identified as an epidemic worldwide. In Taiwan, the highest prevalence of obesity is observed in adults age 65. This article investigates the effects of body weight status on the likelihood of depression among the elderly in Taiwan. Method: A longitudinal sample of the elderly (1351 males and 1165 females) interviewed in both the 1999 and 2003 Surveys of Health and Living Status of the Elderly in Taiwan is used. A random effect logit model is estimated to examine the effects of body weight status, lifestyle, and socio-demographic characteristics on the likelihood of depression. Results: About 10.4% of the elderly men are overweight and 13.4% are obese in 2003. A higher prevalence of obesity is found among elderly women, with 19.3% being overweight and 26.4% obese. Elderly men who are underweight are more likely to be depressed (odds ratio; OR¼2.36) than those from other weight categories, while overweight and obese women are less likely to be depressed (ORs¼0.72 and 0.61) than elderly women of the normal weight category. Conclusions: In contrast to most findings for the Western countries, a negative association between obesity and depression of the elderly is evident in Taiwan. The different findings between Western and Asian countries may be due to the cultural differences. Unlike the Western countries that stigmata are attached to excessive overweight, being overweight is not a symbol of unhealthiness because only the wealthy can afford to eat more and put on more weight in the Chinese society.