Background: Overweight and obesity, which may lead to depression, have become prevalent among children worldwide. Hence, this study aimed to measure obesity and depression among schoolchildren in Kuantan.

Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted in three different primary schools in Kuantan by purposive sampling. With consent from their parents/guardians, participants were given a self-administered questionnaire. Demographics and anthropometric measurement data were self-reported on the basis of the school records. Furthermore, body mass index was calculated. Data were analyzed using SPSS version 20.0, and chi-square and correlation tests were conducted for the variables.

Results: Among the 300 schoolchildren who responded, 14.3% were underweight, 37.7% were normal, 11% were overweight, and 37% were obese. Statistically, obesity and ethnicity, as well as obesity and sex, were not associated. Conversely, obesity and age, as well as obesity and depression, were significantly associated.

Conclusion: Depression is associated with obesity among schoolchildren. Hence, a special approach for designing and implementing prevention programs is necessary to reduce the risk of obesity-led depression and other forms of comorbidity later in life.


1. Gore FM, Bloem PJN, Patton GC, Ferguson J, Joseph V, Coffey C, et al. Global burden of disease in young people aged 10–24 years: A systematic analysis. Lancet. 2011;377:2093–102.

2. Ogden CL, Carroll MD, Lawman HG, Fryar CD, Kruszon-Moran D, Kit BK, et al. Trends in obesity prevalence among children and adolescents in the United States, 1988–1994 through 2013–2014. JAMA. 2016;315:2292–9.

3. Lang IA, Kipping RR, Jago R, Lawlor DA. Variation in childhood and adolescent obesity prevalence defined by international and country-specific criteria in England and the United States. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2011;65:143–50.

4. Skelton JA, Cook SR, Auinger P, Klein JD, Barlow SE. Prevalence and trends of severe obesity among US children and adolescents. Acad Pediatr. 2009;9:322–9.

5. WHO Childhood overweight and obesity [internet]. [Cited 2016 Dec 12]. Available from: https://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/childhood/en/.

6. Nik YNSR, Jamaludin FIC, Firdaus MKZH, Che Hasan MK. A feasibility of simulation-based exercise programme for overweight adult in higher learning institutions. Enferm Clin. 2019;29:521–7.

7. Nawi AM, Jamaludin FIC. Effect of internet-based intervention on obesity among adolescents in Kuala Lumpur: A school-based cluster randomised trial. Malaysian J Med Sci. 2015;22:47–56.

8. Skinner AC, Skelton JA. Prevalence and trends in obesity and severe obesity among children in the United States, 1999–2012. JAMA Pediatr. 2014;168:561–6.

9. Keating XD, Castelli D, Ayers SF. Association of weekly strength exercise frequency and academic performance among students at a large university in the United States. J Strength Cond Res. 2013;27:1988–93.

10. Brumpton B, Langhammer A, Romundstad P, Chen Y, Mai XM. The associations of anxiety and depression symptoms with weight change and incident obesity: The HUNT study. Int J Obes. 2013;37:1268–74.

11. Quek Y-H, Tam WWS, Zhang MWB, Ho RCM. Exploring the association between childhood and adolescent obesity and depression: a meta-analysis. Obes Rev. 2017;18:742–54.

12. Sutaria S, Devakumar D, Yasuda SS, Das S, Saxena S. Is obesity associated with depression in children? Systematic review and meta-analysis. Arch Dis Child. 2019;104:64–74.

13. Schooling C, Hon K, Lin S, Kwok M, Stewart S. Infant or childhood obesity and adolescent depression HKMJ. Hong Kong Med J. 2015;21:s39–41.

14. Sample size calculator by Raosoft, Inc [internet]. [Cited 2015 Dec 3]. Available from: http://www.raosoft.com/samplesize.html.

15. Fendrich M, Weissman MM, Warner V. Screening for depressive disorder in children and adolescents: validating the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale for children. Am J Epidemiol. 1990;131:551.

16. Betancourt T, Scorza P, Meyers-Ohki S, Mushashi C, Kayiteshonga Y, Binagwaho A, et al. Validating the center for epidemiological studies depression scale for children in rwanda. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2012;51:1284–92.

17. Ling Y, Liu C, Huebner ES, Zeng Y, Zhao N, Li Z. A study on classification features of depressive symptoms in adolescents. J Ment Health. 2019;1–8.

18. Faulstich ME, Carey MP, Ruggiero L, Enyart P, Gresham F. Assessment of depression in childhood and adolescence: An evaluation of the center for epidemiological studies depression scale for children (CES-DC). Am J Psychiatry. 1986;143:1024–7.

19. Sharif NAM, Hasan MKC, Jamaludin FIC, Firdaus MKZH. The need for first aid education for adolescents. Enfermería Clínica. 2018;28:13–8.

20. Ahmad A, Zulaily N, Manan NSA, Shahril MR, Syed Saadun Tarek Wafa SW, Mohd Amin R, et al. Body weight status of school adolescents in Terengganu, Malaysia: a population baseline study. BMC Public Health. 2017;17:9.

21. Naidu BM, Mahmud SZ, Ambak R, Sallehuddin SM, Mutalip HA, Saari R, et al. Overweight among primary school-age children in Malaysia. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2013;22:408–15.

22. Buttitta M, Iliescu C, Rousseau A, Guerrien A. Quality of life in overweight and obese children and adolescents: a literature review. Qual Life Res. 2014;23:1117–39.

23. Ghazali SM, Kamaluddin M, Said IMd, Isa MR, Ghazali IMM, Idris N. Obesity among schoolchildren in Kuala Selangor: A cross-sectional study. Trop Biomed. 2006;23:148–54.

24. Rodríguez-Martín A, Ruiz JPN, Nieto JMM, Jiménez LE. Life-style factors associated with overweight and obesity among Spanish adults. Nutr Hosp. 24:144–51.

25. Maruf FA, Aronu U, Chukwuegbu K, Aronu AE. Influence of gender on prevalence of overweight and obesity in Nigerian schoolchildren and adolescents. Tanzan J Health Res. 2013;15:247–51.

26. Hruby A, Hu FB. The epidemiology of obesity: A big picture. Pharmacoeconomics. 2015;33:673–89.

27. Pavela G, Lewis DW, Locher J, Allison DB. Socioeconomic status, risk of obesity, and the importance of Albert J Stunkard. Curr Obes Rep. 2016;5:132–9.

28. Mond J, van den Berg P, Boutelle K, Hannan P, Neumark-Sztainer D. Obesity, body dissatisfaction, and emotional well-being in early and late adolescence: Findings from the project EAT study. J Adolesc Heal. 2011;48:373–8.

29. Luppino FS, de Wit LM, Bouvy PF, Stijnen T, Cuijpers P, Penninx BW, et al. Overweight, obesity, and depression: A systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal studies. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2010;67:220–9.

30. Marmorstein NR, Iacono WG, Legrand L, Marmorstein N. Obesity and depression in adolescence and beyond: Reciprocal risks HHS Public Access. Int J Obes. 2014;38:906–11.

31. Assari S. The link between mental health and obesity: Role of individual and contextual factors. Int J Prev Med. 2014;5:247–9.

32. Sjöberg RL, Nilsson KW, Leppert J. Obesity, shame, and depression in school-aged children: A population-based study. 2005;116:e389–92.

33. Iannaccone M, D’Olimpio F, Cella S, Cotrufo P. Self-esteem, body shame and eating disorder risk in obese and normal weight adolescents: A mediation model. Eat Behav. 2016;21:80–3.

34. Roberts RE, Duong HT. Perceived weight, not obesity, increases risk for major depression among adolescents. 2013;47:1110–7.

35. Gariepy G, Nitka D, Schmitz N. The association between obesity and anxiety disorders in the population: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Int J Obes. 2010;34:407–19.

36. Hare DL, Toukhsati SR, Johansson P, Jaarsma T. Depression and cardiovascular disease: A clinical review. Eur Heart J. 2014;35:1365–72.

37. Lopez R, Barateau L, Evangelista E, Dauvilliers Y. Depression and hypersomnia: A complex association. Sleep Med Clin. 2017;12:395–405.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.