Association of CVD Risk Factors with Depression in Young People

Pavankumar Kamat


July 12, 2021


  • A meta-analysis found a longitudinal association between cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors, particularly high body mass index (BMI; >25 kg/m2) and smoking, and subsequent depression in young people.

Why this matters

  • Findings suggest that childhood/adolescent smoking and obesity may be important targets for preventing depression and CVD in young people and subsequently throughout their life span.

Study design

  • UK researchers conducted a meta-analysis of 29 cohort studies identified through a literature search across MEDLINE, EMBASE and PsycINFO databases.

  • The association of CVD risk factors with depression was evaluated in participants aged ≤24 years.

  • Funding: None.

Key results

  • High BMI (OR, 1.61; 95% CI, 1.21-2.14; 7 studies; n=15,753) and smoking (OR, 1.73; 95% CI, 1.36-2.20; I2, 74%; 8 studies; n=30,539) were associated with an increased risk of subsequent depression.

  • Low systolic blood pressure (SBP; OR, 3.32; 95% CI, 1.68-6.55; 2 studies; n=893), but not high SBP (OR, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.55-1.22; I2, 66%; 2 studies; n=5111), was associated with an increased risk of depression.


  • Heterogeneity among studies.

  • Results may have limited generalisability.


Chaplin AB, Daniels NF, Ples D, Anderson RZ, Gregory-Jones A, Jones PB, Khandaker GM. Longitudinal association between cardiovascular risk factors and depression in young people: a systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studies. Psychol Med. 2021 Jun 25 [Epub ahead of print]:1-11. doi: 10.1017/S0033291721002488. PMID: 34167604.  View full text

This clinical summary originally appeared on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.


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