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J Nutr Health Aging. 2011 Jan;15(1):3-8.

Depressive symptoms are associated with food insufficiency and nutritional deficiencies in poor community-dwelling elderly people.

Author information

1
Department of Epidemiology and Health Services Evaluation, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, PO Box 653, Beer-Sheva 84105, Israel. germanl@bgu.ac.il

Abstract

Depression is associated with nutritional deterioration in older persons and is highly prevalent among people of low socioeconomic status (LSES).

OBJECTIVES:

To determine the prevalence of depressive symptoms and food insufficiency, and to examine the relationship between dietary intake, food insufficiency and depression, in LSES community dwelling elderly.

DESIGN:

Cross-sectional study.

SETTING:

Lod, a town in the central Israel.

PARTICIPANTS:

Community-dwelling welfare recipients aged 60 to 92.

MEASUREMENTS:

Depression was assessed by 15-item Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS-short version), using a score ≥ 10 as the cut off point for clinically important depressive symptoms. Dietary intake was evaluated using a 24-hour dietary recall. Food insufficiency was defined by participants reporting that they did not have enough food to eat " sometimes " or " often " .

RESULTS:

This study reports on 112 persons aged 60 years and above (27.1% men). The prevalence of depression in this population was 47%; 25% of the study sample was classified as " food insufficient " . Macronutrients intake was similar for depressed and non-depressed persons, except for polyunsaturated fats which was lower among the depressed group (7.9 ± 4.9 vs.11.0 ± 7.5 g/day in the non-depressed, p=0.03). Vitamins and minerals intake was lower than recommended for both groups; vitamin E intake was associated with depression. In regression models controlling for confounding variables, an increase of 1 mg in vitamin E intake and 1 gram in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) intake was associated with lower risk for depression (OR=0.73, p=0.008 and OR=0.86, p=0.007 respectively) Participants who reported food insufficiency were 10 times more likely to be depressed compared with those who reported sufficient food.

CONCLUSIONS:

Given the evaluated adverse association between depressive symptoms and food insufficiency, more efforts are needed to guarantee adequate food intake, particularly foods rich in vitamin E and PUFA, in poor elderly people. Further studies are needed to clarify the temporal relationship between the emotional and nutritional domains in this vulnerable population.

PMID:
21267514
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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