Mediterranean Diet, Food Consumption and Risk of Late-Life Depression: The Mugello Study

Mugello Study Working Group

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Objective: To investigate eating habits and adherence to Mediterranean Diet (MD) in relation to the risk of depression in a cohort of nonagenarians enrolled within the Mugello Study, an epidemiological study aimed at investigating both clinically relevant geriatric items and various health issues, including those related to nutritional status. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: Homes and nursing homes in the Mugello area, Florence, Italy. Participants: Subjects aged 90-99 years [N=388 (271F; 117M) mean age: 92.7±3.1]. Measurements: All subjects were evaluated through questionnaires and instrumental examinations. Adherence to MD was assessed through the Mediterranean Diet Score. A shorter version of the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) was used to detect the possible presence of depressive symptoms. In addition, cognitive and functional status was assessed using the Mini-Mental State Examination, the Clock Drawing Test, as well as the Basic and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living test. Results: Depressed subjects (DS) (GDS score≥5, 43.8%) were older, females and widows, than non-depressed subjects (NDS). DS reported a slightly but not statistically significant lower MD score than NDS (33.9±3.9 vs. 34.6±3.3, p=0.149). Subjects who reported to consume a greater amount of olive oil and fruit were associated with a lower risk of depression (OR=0.35, 95%CI=0.20–0.59, p<0.001 and OR=0.46, 95%CI=0.26–0.84, p=0.011, respectively) after adjustment for many possible confounders. Similar results were obtained for women, while no statistically significant differences emerged for men. Conclusion: Our results support the hypothesis that a diet rich in olive oil and fruit, characteristics of MD, may protect against the development of depressive symptoms in older age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Nutrition, Health and Aging
Early online dateMar 22 2018
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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