Researchers at Seoul National University of Medicine found that people who are underweight are more likely to suffer from low moods. However, the experts were unable to say whether being thin causes the blues or if depression cuts appetite. They also noted that skinny men and women were equally at risk of feeling down.
In contrast, chubbier women are more likely to suffer depression than overweight men who often have a “jolly fat” outlook.
The researchers said: “It seems the current ideal of thinness affects (overweight) women more than their male counterparts… in contrast, men who are overweight showed a significantly decreased risk of depression.”
The experts also warned GPs that there are mental health implications for underweight patients of either gender, saying: “Both underweight and obesity increase the risk of depression.
The experts, who analysed data from 183 studies, said the research shows a healthy weight — rather than a low weight — is important.
Dr Agnes Ayton, of Britain’s Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: “This large study confirms optimal nutrition is fundamentally important for physical and mental health.”