Association between the adherence to the Mediterranean dietary pattern and common mental disorders among community-dwelling elders: 2015 Health Survey of São Paulo, SP, Brazil

J Affect Disord. 2020 Mar 15;265:389-394. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2020.01.100. Epub 2020 Jan 22.


Background: Some questions regarding the benefits of the Mediterranean Dietary Pattern (MDP) are still unanswered, especially in non-Mediterranean areas. As such, this study intends to evaluate the association between the adherence to the MDP with the presence of Common Mental Disorders (CMD) in Brazilian older adults, adopting two different concepts of MDP.

Methods: The sample included 545 elders from 2015 Health Survey of São Paulo City (cross-sectional population-based study). CMD were identified through the Self Reporting Questionnaire-20 (SRQ-20). Data from two 24-hour dietary recall were used to construct two concepts of MDP according to the Mediterranean-diet score (MDS): Traditional MDP (included only foods with characteristics of the original MDP) and Brazilian-MDP (included foods with non-Mediterranean characteristics). The analyses included two different models (crude model and adjusted model for potential confounders) of logistic regression.

Results: Moderate and high adherence to Traditional MDP were associated with a lower prevalence of CMD (OR: 0.59; 95% CI: 0.35-0.98 and OR: 0.42, 95% CI: 0.18-0.96, respectively), after adjustment for sociodemographic, lifestyle and health status variables. In turn, the presence of CMD was not significantly associated with any level of adherence to the Brazilian-MDP.

Limitations: due to the cross-sectional feature of the study, we cannot determine a cause-effect relationship; some covariates were self-reported; the results cannot apply to the elderly from other regions.

Conclusion: Moderate and high adherence to the traditional MDP was found to reduce the risk of mental disorders in Brazilian elderly. Nevertheless, an increased intake of non-Mediterranean food components can limit this effect.

Keywords: Mediterranean diet; Mediterranean dietary pattern; Mental disorders; Older adults.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet, Mediterranean*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Independent Living
  • Mental Disorders* / epidemiology