Background: Uncertainty still surrounds the association between metabolic syndrome (MetS) and depression. We aimed to evaluate the association between MetS and elevated depressive symptoms in a general Japanese population.
Methods: This is a cross-sectional survey of 3,113 community-dwelling individuals aged 40 years or over. MetS was defined according to the joint interim statement. MetS was diagnosed when a subject had three or more of the following components: 1) central obesity (waist circumference ≥ 90 cm for men, ≥ 80 cm in for women); 2) elevated blood pressure (≥ 130/85 mmHg or current use of antihypertensive medication); 3) hypertriglyceridemia (≥ 1.7 mmol/L); 4) low HDL cholesterol (< 1.0 mmol/L for men, < 1.3 mmol/L for women); and 5) elevated fasting plasma glucose (≥ 5.55 mmol/L or current use of antidiabetic medication). Depressive symptoms were assessed using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D). The age- and multivariable-adjusted odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) were estimated using a logistic regression model.
Results: Elevated depressive symptoms were observed in 4.3% of male and 6.3% of female participants. In men, the age-adjusted prevalence of elevated depressive symptoms was significantly higher in subjects with MetS than in those without (7.1% versus 3.6%, p = 0.04). The prevalence of elevated depressive symptoms rose progressively as the number of MetS components increased (3.5%, 3.6%, 5.8%, and 9.2% in male subjects with 0-1, 2, 3, and ≥ 4 components, respectively; p = 0.02 for trend). This association remained significant even after adjustment for age, marital status, history of cardiovascular disease, smoking habit, alcohol intake, and regular exercise. In women, on the other hand, there was no clear association between MetS and depressive symptoms.
Conclusions: MetS was associated with elevated depressive symptoms in a general population of Japanese men.