The association between fruit and vegetable consumption and mental health disorders: evidence from five waves of a national survey of Canadians

Prev Med. 2013 Mar;56(3-4):225-30. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2012.12.016. Epub 2013 Jan 4.


Objective: The objective of this study was to examine the association between fruit and vegetable intake (FVI) and mental health disorders.

Method: This study used data from the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS), a repeated cross-sectional study of Canadians with five waves between 2000 until 2009 (n=296,121 aged 12 years or older). FVI was assessed based on frequency of consumption. The primary outcome was a major depressive episode over the previous 12 months. Logistic regression models adjusted for age, gender, household income, education, physical activity, chronic illness and smoking.

Results: In the first wave, greater FVI was significantly associated with lower odds of depression (OR: 0.85 95% CI:0.78-0.92). A combined estimate of all 5 waves demonstrated similar results (OR: 0.72; 95% CI: 0.71-0.75). Relative to those with the lowest FVI, those with the greatest FVI also had significantly lower odds of suffering from distress (OR: 0.87 95% CI: 0.78-0.98). These results were consistent across other waves. Perceived poor mental health status and previous diagnosis of a mood disorder and anxiety disorder also demonstrated statistically significant inverse associations with FVI (all p<0.05).

Conclusion: These findings suggest a potentially important role of a healthy diet in the prevention of depression and anxiety.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / epidemiology*
  • Diet*
  • Female
  • Fruit*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Vegetables*
  • Young Adult