Girls who had been born underweight were more prone to depression at the age of 13 to 16 than those born at normal weight, a study said.

The average weight for a baby at birth is about 3.4 kg. The Duke University study found that girls who had been born weighing less than 2.5 kg were more prone to depression, reported online edition of the BBC News.

Previous research has linked low birth weight to an increased risk of attention deficit disorder, as well as physical conditions such as cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.

Elizabeth Jane Costello and other researchers at Duke University examined data on more than 1,400 children, aged nine to 16. They found that among girls, 5.7 percent were born weighing less than 2.5 kg, and of these 38 percent experienced depression at least once between 13 and 16 years.

This compared with 8.4 percent of those born at a normal weight. On average, 23.5 percent of teenage girls with a low birth weight were depressed each year, compared with 3.4 percent of those born at a normal weight.

Writing in the journal, the researchers said: "For the present, the findings suggest that paediatricians and parents of girls who were of low birth weight should pay close attention to their mental health as they enter puberty."

The researchers, however, said further investigation was needed to pin down possible reasons of the depression.

Via Web India