Depression is a risk factor for metabolic syndrome: Results from the ELSA-Brasil cohort study

J Psychiatr Res. 2023 Feb:158:56-62. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2022.12.017. Epub 2022 Dec 22.


Introduction: Metabolic Syndrome (MetS) and depression comorbidity has been recognized, but its directionality is still uncertain. The aims of this study was to assess the association between depression (diagnosis and severity) and MetS (components, diagnosis and trajectory) in the baseline and over a 4-year follow-up period.

Material and methods: Baseline and follow-up data from 13,883 participants of the Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Adult Health were analyzed. The Clinical Interview Schedule Revised assessed depressive episode and its severity. MetS components and diagnosis were assessed according to the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III. Participants were grouped according to MetS trajectory as recovered, incident and persistent MetS. Logistic regression analysis was conducted estimating odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (95%CI).

Results: Baseline depression was positively associated with recovered (OR = 1.59, 95%CI 1.18-2.14), incident (OR = 1.45, 95%CI 1.09-1.91) and persistent (OR = 1.70, 95%CI 1.39-2.07) MetS. Baseline depression was also associated with large waist circumference (OR = 1.47, 95%CI 1.23-1.75), high triglycerides (OR = 1.23, 95%CI 1.02-1.49), low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (OR = 1.30, 95%CI 1.08-1.56), and hyperglycemia (OR = 1.38, 95%CI 1.15-1.66) at follow-up. Having three or more MetS components at follow-up was associated with baseline depression, with a positive dose-response effect (OR = 1.77, 95%CI 1.29-2.43; OR = 1.79, 95%CI 1.26-2.54; OR = 2.27, 95%CI 1.50-3.46, respectively). The magnitude of associations was greater in severe depression, when compared to moderate and mild.

Discussion: These results support that depression is a risk factor for the development of MetS and highlights the need to follow metabolic and cardiovascular alterations in the presence of depression.

Keywords: Cholesterol; Depression; Mental disorders; Metabolic syndrome; Waist circumference.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • Cholesterol
  • Cohort Studies
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Metabolic Syndrome* / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors


  • Cholesterol