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22-12-2011 | Mental health | Article

Diabetes, gender modify depressive symptoms in people with poor diet


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MedWire News: The quality of a person's diet is associated with symptoms of depression, with this relationship being modulated by gender and the presence of diabetes, study findings suggest.

Previous studies have demonstrated that individuals with Type 2 diabetes have a greater prevalence of depression than those without. Furthermore, it is known that low-quality diet and depression symptoms are independently linked to glycemic control in Type 2 diabetes.

To investigate further, Fatma Huffman, from the Robert Stempel School of Public Health in Miami, Florida, USA and colleagues studied 356 Cuban-Americans living in South Florida, of whom 183 had Type 2 diabetes.

The Healthy Eating Index-2005 (HEI-05) was used to assess diet quality, while the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) was used to determine depression symptoms.

Compared with individuals without Type 2 diabetes, those with the disease were significantly more likely to be older, be male, have a greater body mass index (BMI), be unemployed, be unmarried, have higher glycated hemoglobin levels, and have higher BDI and HEI-05 scores, and have a lower energy intake.

In a multilinear regression model, diabetes status and gender were significant predictors of depression, with the presence of Type 2 diabetes increasing the BDI score by 2.8 units and male gender reducing the score by 2.3 units.

The researchers also found a significant interaction among diabetes status, gender, and HEI-05.

Among males with a HEI-05 score ≤55.6, diabetics had higher mean BDI scores than nondiabetics, at 11.6 versus 6.6. Meanwhile, in both men and women with a HEI-05 score ≤55.6, nondiabetic women had higher mean BDI scores than nondiabetic males, at 11.0 vs 6.6.

The team concludes: "Our results showed that significant differences among gender and diabetes status are found in participants with the lowest overall diet quality, meaning that special emphasis must be placed in the diets of females and subjects with T2D [Type 2 diabetes] with symptoms of depression."

The study is published in the Nutrition Journal.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Liam Davenport

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