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Dietary patterns are associated with depressive symptoms in older Australian women but not men

journal contribution
posted on 2019-12-01, 00:00 authored by Michael Hart, Catherine MilteCatherine Milte, Susan TorresSusan Torres, M G Thorpe, Sarah McNaughtonSarah McNaughton
Studies have examined associations between depressive symptoms and dietary patterns, however few studies have focussed in older adults. This study examines associations between current and past dietary patterns and depression in a community dwelling adult population aged 55 years and over. Adults (n=4082) were recruited into the Wellbeing, Eating and Exercise for a Long Life study in Victoria, Australia. Data were collected using self-administered questionnaires in 2010 and 2014 including a 111-item food frequency questionnaire, the RAND-36 item survey of health-related quality of life and the International Physical Activity Questionnaire. Depressive symptoms were assessed using the Geriatric Depression Scale in 2014. Current (2014) and past (2010) dietary patterns were determined using principal component analysis. Associations between dietary patterns and depressive symptoms were assessed using a mixed model analysis with adjustment for covariates. Two similar dietary patterns were identified in men and women (n=2142). In women, a healthy dietary pattern (characterised by frequent intake of vegetables, fruit and fish) was associated with lower levels of depressive symptoms (current diet: β = -0.260 95% CI: -0.451, -0.070; past diet: β = -0.201 CI: -0.390, -0.013). A current unhealthy dietary pattern in women (characterised by frequent intake of red and processed meat, potatoes, hot chips, cakes, deserts and ice cream) was associated with higher levels of depressive symptoms (β = 1.367 CI: 0.679, 2.056). No associations were identified in men. Further research is needed to confirm these findings and to understand why differences may occur by sex.



British journal of nutrition






1424 - 1431


Cambridge University Press


Cambridge, Eng.







Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2019, The Authors