Long-term fish intake is associated with less severe depressive symptoms among elderly men and women: the MEDIS (MEDiterranean ISlands Elderly) epidemiological study

J Aging Health. 2009 Sep;21(6):864-80. doi: 10.1177/0898264309340693. Epub 2009 Jul 8.


Objectives. This work aims at exploring the association between fish intake and depressive symptoms, in older adults. Method. During 2005-2007, 1,190 men and women (>65 years) free living in various Greek islands and in Cyprus participated in the study. Depressive symptoms were assessed using the validated Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS), and foods intake through a Food Frequency Questionnaire. Results. Almost 70% of the participants scored above the depressive cutoff (i.e., GDS score > 5), with women having higher values. People classified under the 1st tertile of GDS score (i.e., GDS </= 5) were more educated, physically active, and report higher fish consumption. One portion increase of fish consumption per week was associated with 0.58 times (95% confidence interval: 0.45-0.73) lower likelihood of having GDS score above the clinical threshold, after various adjustments were made. Discussion. These findings may assist public health policy makers in better preventing emotional disorders among the elderly by promoting healthier eating habits.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Depression*
  • Depressive Disorder*
  • Diet, Mediterranean / psychology*
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Female
  • Fish Products*
  • Fishes*
  • Greece / epidemiology
  • Greece / ethnology
  • Health Behavior / ethnology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mediterranean Islands / epidemiology
  • Mediterranean Islands / ethnology


  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3