Long-term stress might make you fat, study says

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A study found the highest levels of cortisol in obese individuals under high stress

Cortisol is released when the body is stressed; it also regulates metabolism

CNN  — 

Could constant stress be making you fat?

To find out, English researchers compared stress levels and body weight of more than 2,500 men and women over age 54 who participated in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing.

The study, published Thursday in the journal Obesity, looked at the levels of a stress hormone called cortisol in locks of hair gathered from participants.

“We found levels of cortisol in the hair to be positively and significantly correlated to larger waist circumference and higher body mass index or BMI,” said lead author Sarah Jackson, a research associate at the Institute of Epidemiology and Health at University College London.”These results provide consistent evidence that chronic stress is associated with higher levels of obesity.”