As if depression wasn't enough, researchers have now concluded it also makes you fat, according to a new study published in the June issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

Excessive fat around your mid-section, referred to as ‘abdominal obesity', caused by elevated levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, was linked with high-level depression in a study led by Belinda Needham, PhD, an assistant sociology professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).

The researchers analyzed and modeled data from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study during years 5, 10, 15, and 20 - a study that included 4643 participants - and found that those with "higher levels of depressive symptoms experienced a faster rate of increase in BMI (for Whites only) and waist circumference (for Blacks and Whites) over time than did those who reported fewer symptoms of depression in year 5."

"Initial BMI and waist circumference did not influence the rate of change in symptoms of depression over time."

Needham and her colleagues concluded that symptoms of depression may create "physical health problems, such as cardiovascular disease, through its association with increases in relative weight and abdominal obesity over time."

Depression can cloud many aspects of your life but one way to tackle it and the excessive weight is to get active. Exercising, especially outdoors, can boost your mood and help you shed the fat.

Full study, "Trajectories of Change in Obesity and Symptoms of Depression: The CARDIA Study":