Depression May Be Associated With Metabolic Syndrome in Older Adults

In people aged 60 or older, depression is significantly associated with metabolic syndrome, and the component of metabolic syndrome most strongly associated with depression is abdominal obesity, according to a study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders.

Using the electronic databases PubMed/Medline and EMBASE, study investigators located peer-reviewed, observational studies published in English between January 1997 and July 2017 with quantitative empirical research on the associations between depressive symptoms or depression and metabolic syndrome, to consider for inclusion. Clinical trials, symposia, editorials, case reports, letters, comments, and reviews were excluded.

Due to the potential bias introduced by the focus on individuals aged 60 or older, study investigators excluded studies of inpatients or residents of long-term care facilities and only included studies involving community study samples.

Ultimately, 12 suitable studies were included for review out of the 256 studies found at the initial screening. The association between depression and metabolic syndrome was significant in 83.3% (10 of 12) of these studies.

The findings regarding the positive associations between depression and the individual components of metabolic syndrome were mixed, with depression most consistently and strongly associated with abdominal obesity.

Metabolic syndrome is a major contributor to cardiovascular diseases, which contribute significantly to the disease burden of adults aged 60 and older. Depression is also a significant problem among older adults, affecting 7.5 million individuals within that population worldwide.

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Study investigators conclude that older adults with metabolic syndrome experienced higher rates of depressive symptoms compared with older adults without metabolic syndrome.

“Data was contradictory regarding the relationship between the components of [metabolic syndrome] and depression.. more longitudinal studies need to be carried out in order to elucidate the association between depression and of [metabolic syndrome] in older adults”, the researchers wrote.


Repousi N, Masana M, Sanchez-Niubo A, Haro JM, Tyrovolas S. Depression and metabolic syndrome in the older population: a review of evidence [published online April 21, 2018]. J Affect Disord. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2018.04.102

This article originally appeared on Psychiatry Advisor