Customization of Diet May Promote Exercise and Improve Mental Wellbeing in Mature Adults: The Role of Exercise as a Mediator

J Pers Med. 2021 May 19;11(5):435. doi: 10.3390/jpm11050435.


Diet, dietary practices and exercise are modifiable risk factors for individuals living with mental distress. However, these relationships are intricate and multilayered in such a way that individual factors may influence mental health differently when combined within a pattern. Additionally, two important factors that need to be considered are gender and level of brain maturity. Therefore, it is essential to assess these modifiable risk factors based on gender and age group. The purpose of the study was to explore the combined and individual relationships between food groups, dietary practices and exercise to appreciate their association with mental distress in mature men and women. Adults 30 years and older were invited to complete the food-mood questionnaire. The anonymous questionnaire link was circulated on several social media platforms. A multi-analyses approach was used. A combination of data mining techniques, namely, a mediation regression analysis, the K-means clustering and principal component analysis as well as Spearman's rank-order correlation were used to explore these research questions. The results suggest that women's mental health has a higher association with dietary factors than men. Mental distress and exercise frequency were associated with different dietary and lifestyle patterns, which support the concept of customizing diet and lifestyle factors to improve mental wellbeing.

Keywords: adults; brain maturity; customization; diet; dietary practices; exercise; gender; mental health.