Background: Few studies have explored the relationship between major mental health disorders and metabolic syndrome (MetS), although both have been linked to cardiovascular disease. The present study examined the cross-sectional associations of major depressive disorder (MDD) and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) with MetS in a large study of male US veterans.
Methods: The analyses were cross-sectional. Participants (n = 4256) were drawn from the Vietnam Experience Study. From military service files, telephone interviews, and a medical examination, occupational, socio-demographic, and health data were collected. One-year prevalence of MDD and GAD was determined with DSM-III criteria. Metabolic syndrome was ascertained from data on: body mass index, fasting blood glucose or a diagnosis of diabetes, blood pressure, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.
Results: In models that adjusted for age (p = .01) and additionally for place of service, ethnicity, marital status, smoking, alcohol consumption, IQ at enlistment, household income in midlife, and education grade achieved (p = .02), GAD was positively associated with MetS. Major depressive disorder was not related to MetS.
Conclusions: Depression has very much been the focal condition for studies on mental health and physical health outcomes. The current data suggest that future research should perhaps pay equal attention to GAD.