Previous research suggests that adiposity is a health problem among police officers. Stress is also a concern in police work and can lead to depression. Although previous studies have demonstrated an association between obesity and depression, this has not been adequately addressed in the police population. Measures of adiposity (Body Mass Index [BMI], abdominal height, waist circumference) and depressive symptoms (Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression [CES-D] scale) were obtained from a random sample of 115 officers in an urban police department. Ninety nine officers (61 men and 38 women) who had complete data and were not on anti-depressive medication were used. Linear regression analysis was conducted separately for men and women. Covariate adjustments were made for age, alcohol use, smoking, pack-years of smoking, marital status, and physical activity. Statistically significant positive trends were observed in multivariate adjusted mean (+/- SE) depression symptom scores across increasing tertiles of BMI (7.0 +/- 1.3, 5.1 +/- 1.2, 8.8 +/- 1.3, p = 0.012) and abdominal height (6.0 +/- 1.4, 5.5 +/- 1.3, 9.2 +/- 1.4, p = 0.048) for men officers. No significant associations were found between CES-D score and adiposity in women officers (p = 0.075 for BMI, p = 0.317 for abdominal height, p = 0.114 for waist circumference). Additional factors that might influence this association should be examined prospectively in future work to help clarify causal direction.
John M. Violanti, PhD, School of Public Health and Health Professions, Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, State University of New York at Buffalo