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Childhood maltreatment, current psychopathology, and anthropometric indicators of overweight/obesity


Project leadDr. Philipp Töpfer

Approval date27.06.2023

Published date21.09.2023

SummaryAssociations between exposure to childhood maltreatment (CM), as well as psychopathology (e.g., depression or anxiety) in adulthood and adult overweight/obesity are well-established. In the context of CM-exposure or current psychopathology, comorbid overweight/obesity may prospectively contribute to further health problems, such as increased risk for cardiovascular diseases or type-2-diabetes. At the physiological level, metabolic (dysglycemia and dislipidemia) or immunological changes (e.g., increased inflammation) may partly mediate the increased risk for overweight/obesity-related disease in particularly vulnerable individuals, such as CM survivors or people suffering from depression or anxiety. Recently, it has been proposed that body mass index (BMI), the most common operationalization of overweight/obesity has important shortcomings. Alternative and with respect to obesity-related pathophysiology more relevant anthropometric measures of overweight and obesity, might inform treatment and prevention efforts by clinicians treating individuals with significant CM-exposure, or current psychopathology and co-occurring overweight/obesity. We will therefore analyze the associations of exposure to childhood maltreatment and current psychopathology (i.e., depression or anxiety) with several anthropometric parameters (BMI, body composition, body fat distribution) and associated changes in metabolic and inflammatory markers. In addition and considering recent evidence [1-3], we will also analyze the moderating role of sex/gender in the above mentioned associations to get a more comprehensive and better understanding of the intricate relationships between CM-exposure, current psychopathology and adult overweight/obesity and underlying pathophysiological alterations.

Keywords Childhood-maltreatment cardiovascular-diseases depression risk-factors

InstitutionsUniversitätsmedizin Greifswald, Universität Regensburg, Universitätsmedizin Greifswald, Institut für Community Medicine, Abtlg. SHIP-KEF, Universitätmedizin Greifswald

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