Date of this Version
Appetite 75 (2014) 141–149
Depressive symptoms in youth may be a risk factor for obesity, with altered eating behaviors as one possible mechanism. We tested whether depressive symptoms were associated with observed eating patterns expected to promote excessive weight gain in two separate samples. In Study 1, 228 nontreatment- seeking youth, ages 12–17 y (15.3 ± 1.4 y; 54.7% female), self-reported depressive symptoms using the Beck Depression Inventory. Energy intake was measured as consumption from a 10,934-kcal buffet meal served at 11:00 am after an overnight fast. In Study 2, 204 non-treatment-seeking youth, ages 8–17 y (13.0 ± 2.8 y; 49.5% female), self-reported depressive symptoms using the Children’s Depression Inventory. Energy intake was measured as consumption from a 9835-kcal buffet meal served at 2:30 pm after a standard breakfast. In Study 1, controlling for body composition and other relevant covariates, depressive symptoms were positively related to total energy intake in girls and boys. In Study 2, adjusting for the same covariates, depressive symptoms among girls only were positively associated with total energy intake. Youth high in depressive symptoms and dietary restraint consumed the most energy from sweets. In both studies, the effects of depressive symptoms on intake were small. Nevertheless, depressive symptoms were associated with significantly greater consumption of total energy and energy from sweet snack foods, which, over time, could be anticipated to promote excess weight gain.