Fruit and vegetable consumption and prevalence and incidence of depressive symptoms in mid-age women: results from the Australian longitudinal study on women's health

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2015 May;69(5):585-91. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2014.222. Epub 2014 Oct 29.


Background/objectives: There is continued interest in the associations between diet and depression and several studies have focused on individual dietary factors or diet patterns to investigate the relationship. We investigated the association between fruit and vegetables and symptoms of depression in the mid-age cohort of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health.

Subjects/methods: A total of 6271 women with a mean age of 55.45 (1.45 s.d.) years were followed up at three surveys over 6 years. A score of ⩾ 10 on the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression-10 scale indicated depressive symptoms. Fruit and vegetable intake was assessed using short questions.

Results: A total of 381 women (6.1%) were depressed at all three surveys over the 6-year survey period. Cross-sectional logistic regression analysis using general estimating equations showed a reduced odds of depressive symptoms (odds ratio (OR) 0.86 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.79-0.95, P=0.001)) among women who ate ⩾ 2 of fruit/day even after adjustment for several factors including smoking, alcohol, body mass index, physical activity, marital status, education, energy, fish intake and comorbidities. The predictive model also showed a reduced odds of depressive symptoms (OR 0.82 (95% CI 0.70-0.96, P=0.012)) among women who ate ⩾ 2 pieces of fruit/day. There was also an association between vegetable intake and prevalence of depressive symptoms at higher levels of intake.

Conclusions: Increasing fruit consumption may be one important factor for reducing both the prevalence and incidence of depressive symptoms in mid-age women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging / psychology*
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Body Mass Index
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Depression / etiology
  • Depression / psychology
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Fruit*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Logistic Models
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Marital Status / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity
  • Prevalence
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Vegetables*
  • Women / psychology*