Fish consumption and depression in Korean adults: the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2013–2015

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There is a growing body of evidence that supports the potential role of fish consumption in relation to depression, but the data in Korean population is scarce. Thus, we examined the association between fish consumption and depression in Korean adults.


We conducted a cross-sectional study in 9183 Korean adults aged 19–64 years who participated in the 6TH Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2013–2015), which is a large nationally representative study of Korean population. Fish consumption and depression status were assessed using questionnaires. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to compute odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for physician-diagnosed clinical depression.


Out of the 9183 subjects, 389 (4.2%) were diagnosed with depression. After adjusting for potential confounders, the multivariable-adjusted ORs for clinical depression across fish consumption were 1.00 (reference) for <1 time/week, 0.76 (95% CI: 0.56–1.04) for 1–3 times/week and 0.52 (95% CI: 0.37–0.74) for ≥4 times/week (P for trend = 0.0005). The inverse association for ≥4 times/week of fish consumption was stronger in women (OR = 0.44, 95% CI: 0.29–0.67, P for trend < .0001), but there was no significant association in men.


Our findings suggest that high consumption of fish is associated with lower odds of depression in Korean adults, particularly in women. These results warrant further prospective studies to verify the association between fish consumption and risk of depression in Korean adults.

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We thank the participants and staff of the Korea Centers for Disease Control for their dedication and commitment. This work was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea, funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (NRF-2015R1A1A1A05001362). Funders had no role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.


This work was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea, funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (NRF-2015R1A1A1A05001362). Funders had no role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Author information


  1. Department of Food and Nutrition, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, South Korea

    • Yeonji Yang
    •  & Youjin Je


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Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Youjin Je.

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