Background: The purpose of this study was to investigate the dietary taurine intake, nutrients intake, dietary habits and life stress by depression in Korean female college students.
Methods: In this study, research data were collected in March 2009 and 65 patients with depression and 65 controls without depression participated. The CES-D (Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression) scale was used for depression measure and controls were matched for age. A 3-day recall method was used for dietary assessment (2 weekdays and 1 weekend day).
Results: Average height, weight and body mass index (BMI) were 161.3+/-0.5 cm, 55.3+/-1.0 kg and 21.2+/-0.4 kg/m2 for depression patients and those of control group were 161.4+/-0.7 cm, 53.1+/-0.8 kg and 20.3+/-0.2 kg/m2, respectively. Average dietary taurine intakes of depression patients and control group were 89.1 and 88.0 mg/day, respectively. There was no significant difference in dietary taurine intake between depression patients and control group. The average intakes of vitamin A (p<0.05), beta-carotene (p<0.01), vitamin C (p<0.05), folic acid (p<0.05) and fiber (p<0.05) of depression patients were significantly lower compared to control group. The average total dietary habit score of depression patients (47.2) was significantly lower than that of control group (51.3) (p<0.01). The average dietary habit scores of "eating meals at regular times" (p<0.05), "eating adequate amount of meals" (p<0.05), "having meals with diverse foods" (p<0.05), "avoiding eating spicy foods" (p<0.01) and "eating protein foods such as meat, fish, eggs, beans more than 2 times a day" (p<0.05) were significantly lower in depression patients compare to control group. The average scores of total life stress (p<0.001) and all stress categories of depression patients were significantly higher than those of control group except faculty problem score.
Conclusions: These results show that depression patients have poor dietary habits and unbalanced nutrition status. Also depression patients have higher life stress score.Therefore, continuous nutrition education and counselling for good dietary habits and balanced nutrition status are needed to prevent depression in Korean college students.