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CDC report shows depression rates higher in the Southeastern United States

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An estimated nine percent of adults in the United States report they are depressed at least occasionally, according to data released yesterday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report is based on information collected from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System surveys conducted in 2006 and 2008 among 235,067 adults in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Overall, a greater prevalence of depression was found in Southeastern states, which also have higher rates of chronic health conditions. The Chart Blog reports:

Many of the states with high depression rates also have above-average rates of obesity, heart disease, and other chronic health conditions, which may not be a coincidence, says Lela McKnight-Eily, a clinical psychologist and epidemiologist at the CDC.

"Depression can both precipitate and exacerbate the symptoms of a chronic disease," McKnight-Eily says. "For example, if someone is depressed and they have diabetes, they may be less likely to stick to their treatment regimen in terms of their insulin and eating appropriately. Those things are definitely linked."

Relatively high poverty levels and lack of access to mental health care may also have contributed to the depression rates in some Southeastern states, she adds.

Findings also showed:

  • Women (4%) were more likely than men (2.7%) to report major depression.
  • Non-Hispanic blacks (4.0%), Hispanics (4.0%), and non-Hispanic persons of other races (4.3%) were more likely to report major depression than non-Hispanic whites (3.1%)
  • Prevalence of major depression increased with age, from 2.8% among persons aged 18-24 years to 4.6% among persons aged 45-64 years, but declined to 1.6% among those age 65 years and older

Previously: Tens of thousands of children still affected by Hurricane Katrina, Why are women more likely to need mental-health help? and Some 4.9 million Californians need help for mental health.
Photo by Sarah G

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