Interrelationship between Diet Quality and Depressive Symptoms in Elderly

Ana Paula Gomes*, I. Oliveira Bierhals, A. L. Gonçalves Soares, N. Hellwig, E. Tomasi, M. C. Formoso Assunção, H. Gonçalves

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
416 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Several observational studies have shown association between diet quality and depression, but few studies have explored the interrelationship between these variables. Objective: The aim of this study was to assess the interrelationship between diet quality and depressive symptoms in elderly. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: Population based. Participants: 1,378 elderly in the city of Pelotas, Brazil. Measurements: The diet quality was assessed by a short food frequency questionnaire and the prevalence of depressive symptoms was estimated by the abbreviated Brazilian version of the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS). The association between diet quality and depressive symptoms was assessed using logistic regression. Results: The prevalence of depressive symptoms was 15.3%. Elderly with low-quality diet were more likely to experience depressive symptoms, and the association was almost twice higher in males than in females (men OR = 3.8, 95% CI 1.4, 10.6; women OR = 2.1, 95% CI: 1.4, 3.3). On the other hand, depressive elderly had higher odds of consuming a low-quality diet (OR 2.4, 95% CI: 1.7, 3.8). Limitations: Self-reported data and crosssectional design limit our conclusions. Conclusions: The choice of a low-quality diet was associated to a higher risk of depressive symptoms in elderly, and vice-versa. These results highlight the importance of encouraging the choice of healthy food habits, especially in depressed elderly, in order to promote healthy aging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-392
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Nutrition, Health and Aging
Issue number3
Early online date2 Sept 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


  • cross-sectional studies
  • depression
  • Diet quality
  • food habits


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