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Epidemiology

Fruit and vegetable consumption and prevalence and incidence of depressive symptoms in mid-age women: results from the Australian longitudinal study on women’s health

Abstract

Background/Objectives:

There is continued interest in the associations between diet and depression and several studies have focused on individual dietary factors or diet patterns to investigate the relationship. We investigated the association between fruit and vegetables and symptoms of depression in the mid-age cohort of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health.

Subjects/Methods:

A total of 6271 women with a mean age of 55.45 (1.45 s.d.) years were followed up at three surveys over 6 years. A score of 10 on the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression-10 scale indicated depressive symptoms. Fruit and vegetable intake was assessed using short questions.

Results:

A total of 381 women (6.1%) were depressed at all three surveys over the 6-year survey period. Cross-sectional logistic regression analysis using general estimating equations showed a reduced odds of depressive symptoms (odds ratio (OR) 0.86 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.79–0.95, P=0.001)) among women who ate 2 of fruit/day even after adjustment for several factors including smoking, alcohol, body mass index, physical activity, marital status, education, energy, fish intake and comorbidities. The predictive model also showed a reduced odds of depressive symptoms (OR 0.82 (95% CI 0.70–0.96, P=0.012)) among women who ate 2 pieces of fruit/day. There was also an association between vegetable intake and prevalence of depressive symptoms at higher levels of intake.

Conclusions:

Increasing fruit consumption may be one important factor for reducing both the prevalence and incidence of depressive symptoms in mid-age women.

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Acknowledgements

SM together with GDM and AJD conceived the analysis plan. AJD and GDM are on the steering committee of the ALSWH and are responsible for the original study design. SM analysed the data and wrote the paper. All authors read and approved the final manuscript. We thank the study team and all participants for their valuable contribution to this project. The ALSWH is conducted by a team of researchers at the University of Newcastle and the University of Queensland, and is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health. GDM is supported by the Australian Research Council Future Fellowship (FT120100812).

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Correspondence to G D Mishra.

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Mihrshahi, S., Dobson, A. & Mishra, G. Fruit and vegetable consumption and prevalence and incidence of depressive symptoms in mid-age women: results from the Australian longitudinal study on women’s health. Eur J Clin Nutr 69, 585–591 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1038/ejcn.2014.222

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