Healthy Behaviours and Depression among Overweight and Obese: A Social Taboo in Pakistan

Author(s): Azhar Hussain, Madeeha Malik, Sadia Shabnum, Ayisha Hashmi

Introduction: Obesity has become a serious global epidemic which poses a major health hazard to the human being. Globally, changing trends such as high intake of fast food, sedentary lifestyle, industrialization, and urbanization are significant key factors that are leading to an increase in the burden of overweight and obesity. The rise in obesity has also been linked been with depression and an increase in stigma and discrimination towards such obese individuals. Objectives: The aim of the present study is to assess health behavior and depression among overweight/obese adults in Pakistan. Methodology: A descriptive cross-sectional study design was used. Two different data collection tools i.e. Health Behavior Questionnaire (HBQ) and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Score (HADS) were used. The questionnaire was self-administered to a sample of 382 overweight/obese adults residing in Islamabad and Rawalpindi Pakistan calculated by using Raosoft and selected by convenience sampling technique. After data collection, data were coded and analyzed statistically by using Mann-Whitney and Kruskal Wallis Test. Results: The results of the study highlighted that the healthy eating factor score and amount ate factor score was significantly high among females with a p-value of 0.029 and 0.008 respectively where the amount of sleep factor score with (p=0.000) was significantly high among males with a p-value of 0.001. The study results showed that emotional eating factor score, amount eaten factor score, convenience food factor score, TV watching factor score, travel to work factor score, and early maturation factor score was significantly high among adults with an age group of 48-57 years. Conclusion: This study concluded that health behavior is linked with gender, marital status, age, physical activity, and educational qualification of adults whereas stress was associated with physical activity and qualification of adults. Females had unhealthy eating habits where males have bad sleep patterns. The stress factor has an inverse relationship with qualification and physical activity. Healthcare professionals should design innovative interventions to improve healthy eating behavior and reduce depression and stigma associated with obesity.