Acceso gestor editorial

Depression and food consumption in mexican college students

Irina Lazarevich , Maria Esther Irigoyen Camacho , María Consuelo Velázquez-alva , Norma Lara Flores , Oralia Nájera Medina , Marco A. Zepeda Zepeda

Resumen

Introduction: depression is frequently accompanied by overeating and a preference for certain foods that may consequently lead to weight gain.Objectives: a) to determine the prevalence of depression and the consumption of unhealthy food in first-year college students; and b) to analyze the association between depression score and food consumption frequency.Methods: a cross-sectional study was carried out in 1,104 freshman students, 40.3% men and 59.7% women, at a public university in Mexico City. The 20-item depression scale (CES-D) and Food Frequency Questionnaire were applied to measure depressive symptoms and food consumption. Logistic regression analysis was carried out for food consumption frequency and CES-D depression score grouped in quartiles.Results: the prevalence of depression symptoms was 18.2% in men and 27.5% in women (p < 0.001). A considerable proportion of the students reported poor eating habits: consumption of fried food (30.3%), sweetened drinks (49.0%) and sugary food (51.8%) 2-7 times/week; and less than half the students practiced vigorous physical activity (39.7%). In women, a higher depression score was associated with a higher frequency of consumption of fast food (OR = 2.08, p = 0.018), fried food (OR = 1.92, p = 0.01) and sugary food (OR = 2.16, p = 0.001), and a lower frequency of physical exercise (< 75 min/week; OR = 1.80, p = 0.017). In men, no association was observed between depression score and food consumption variables. An association was observed between depression and low exercise frequency (OR = 2.22, p = 0.006).Conclusions: women vulnerable to depression may use food to cope with negative mood states. Therefore, institutional health promotion and nutritional education programs should include adequate emotion and stress management.

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