Obesity and Depression Can Be Treated With Collaborative Care

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jun Ma, MD, PhD, FAHA, FABMRProfessor and Associate Head of Research, Department of MedicineDirector, Center for Health Behavior ResearchThe University of Illinois at Chicago

Dr. Jun Ma

Professor and Associate Head of Research
Department of Medicine
Director, Center for Health Behavior Research
The University of Illinois at Chicago

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Obesity and depression are major public health problems. Obesity affects 40% of United States (US) adults. About 20% in US women and 13% in men experience major depressive disorder at some point in their lifetime and, additionally, many adults have elevated depressive symptoms that do not meet clinical diagnostic criteria but can nevertheless negatively affect their health and quality of life. Obesity and depression share common risk factors, such as poor diet and lack of exercise, and cause other health problems, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. People with obesity are at increased risk of being depressed and, likewise, people with depression are at increased risk of being obese. Consequently, obesity and depression often co-occur. To date, there has been no integrated therapy to effectively treat patients affected by both conditions at the same time.

The RAINBOW randomized clinical trial addressed this gap.

The main finding from the trial is that, among adult patients with obesity and depression, a collaborative care intervention integrating behavioral weight loss treatment, problem-solving therapy, and as-needed antidepressant medications significantly improve weight loss and depressive symptoms over one year compared with usual care, which patients received through their primary care physicians. 

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