Background: There is limited evidence as to whether the metabolic syndrome (MetS) is associated with depression or anxiety and, if so, whether this association is gender-specific. This study investigated in each gender whether the MetS is associated with anxiety or depression and whether these relationships are independent of age, obesity, smoking status, socioeconomic factors, and lifestyle.
Methods: Metabolic syndrome (American Heart Association/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute criteria), depression, and anxiety (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale) were assessed in 1598 subjects at risk of cardiovascular disease.
Results: In both men and women, the MetS was associated with an increased prevalence of depression but not anxiety. The number of components of the MetS increased with increasing levels of depression but not anxiety. This association between the MetS and depressive symptoms was independent of age, smoking status, socioeconomic factors, and lifestyle. The relationship was observed across body mass index categories and was independent of anxiety.
Conclusions: The MetS is associated with depression and depressive symptoms but not anxiety irrespective of gender and overweight/obesity status in subjects at risk of cardiovascular disease. These findings suggest a potential importance of screening for depression in patients with the MetS.