Depression is Associated with Increased Risk for Metabolic Syndrome in Latinos with Type 2 Diabetes

Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2017 Jun;25(6):646-653. doi: 10.1016/j.jagp.2017.02.017. Epub 2017 Feb 22.


Objective: Latino adults are 66% more likely to have diabetes relative to non-Latino white adults. Prior research identifies depression as a significant risk factor for metabolic syndrome (MetS), but research examining this among Latinos is lacking. This study sought to examine the links between depression and MetS and clinically significant elevations in cardiovascular disease risk markers of MetS in a sample of community-dwelling older Latinos with type 2 diabetes.

Methods: Participants were 332 community-dwelling older (≥60 years) Latinos with type 2 diabetes who completed the nine-item Patient Health Questionnaire and received a health checkup assessing body mass index (BMI), triglyceride and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels, and blood pressure. Logistic regression analysis compared MetS rates of those meeting criteria for depression with those who did not. Secondary analyses examined the associations between depression and individual MetS components. All analyses controlled for demographic (e.g., income, age) and other potential MetS risk factors (e.g., smoking status, physical activity, alcohol level consumption).

Results: Depression was significantly associated with an increased risk of MetS (OR: 5.79; 95% CI: 1.32-25.42) and clinically significant elevations in triglycerides (OR: 2.71; 95% CI: 1.15-6.42) and reduced (HDL) cholesterol (OR: 2.46; 95% CI: 1.11-5.45). A significant association was not observed between depression and either BMI or hypertension.

Conclusion: Depression is significantly linked to MetS, and most notably dyslipidemia, in older Latinos with diabetes. Causation, however, cannot be inferred from these analyses given the cross-sectional nature of the study. Future research should prospectively examine the directionality of this effect.

Keywords: Latino; cardiovascular disease risk; depression; diabetes; metabolic syndrome.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Mass Index
  • California / epidemiology
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / complications
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / psychology
  • Female
  • Hispanic Americans / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Independent Living
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Triglycerides