HEALTH / WELL-BEING

PTSD and obesity in younger and older veterans: Results from the mind your heart study

Article

This article examines PTSD-health associations in the context of age.  Results suggest that PTSD is associated with risk for overweight and obesity, an effect that may be particularly strong in older adults. These findings support the importance of examining PTSD and potential health correlates across the life course.

Abstract

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is increasingly recognized as a relatively common condition that is associated with poor health, including obesity. With a sizable proportion of the population approaching older adulthood, it is important to understand PTSD-health associations in the context of age. Participants were recruited from two Veterans Administration medical centers and included 380 patients age 60 and over and 365 under age 60. PTSD diagnosis was determined by the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale. BMI was trichotomized into normal/under (≤24.9), overweight (25.0–29.9), and obese (≥30.0). Models were run in the total sample, as well as stratified by age group, and adjusted for demographics, depression, antipsychotic medication use, and physical activity. Current PTSD was associated with greater likelihood of overweight and obesity in the total sample, and lifetime PTSD was associated with significantly increased odds of obesity. In the stratified models, current and lifetime PTSD were associated with increased likelihood of overweight and obesity in the older group only. Results suggest that PTSD is associated with risk for overweight and obesity, an effect that may be particularly strong in older adults. These findings support the importance of examining PTSD and potential health correlates across the life course.

Full Reference

Smith, B.N., Tyzik, A.L., Neylan, T.C., Cohen, B.E., 2015. PTSD and obesity in younger and older veterans: Results from the mind your heart study. Psychiatry Research. 229:3, 895-900.