Having a pot belly can be associated with a number of different health complaints including cardiovascular problems and diabetes. Depression has also been linked to these conditions and a study of 2,088 adults, aged between 70 and 79 in Amsterdam, has found that depression can be linked to the development of a larger abdominal circumference. Participants in the study were screened for depression at the beginning of the research and had their overall and abdominal fat measured over a 5-year period. At the beginning of the study 4% of the participants had depression and, after adjusting for a number of other factors, this was found to be associated with an increase in abdominal fat. The researchers thought this might be because chronic stress and depression leads to the increased production of a hormone called cortisol, which promotes the accumulation of visceral (abdominal) fat. It is also possible that people with depression may have less healthy lifestyles, including a poorer diet, than other people.
You can find out more about this research by clicking on the link in the title of this post.