Malnutrition is associated with depression in rural elderly population

Zamane Vafaei, Habibollah Mokhtari, Zahra Sadooghi, Rokhsareh Meamar, Ahmad Chitsaz, Mina Moeini


  • Background: Aging induces physiological changes and affects all of organs. Nutritional status and mental health deteriorate with aging. As malnutrition and depression are main problem in elderly this study was performed to assess the association between malnutrition and depression among rural elderly.
  • Materials and Methods: Three hundred and seventy rural elderly aged over 60 years were examined in a cross-sectional study by systematic sampling method and using mini nutritional assessment (MNA), which is a standard questionnaire for evaluating nutrition status. Depression was evaluated by a validated questionnaire in the elderly. Correlation between Socio-demographic characteristic, diseases, and nutrition status was obtained by t-test, Chi-square test and logistic regression in elderly population.
  • Results: Mean ± SD age was 70.6 ± 7.3 years. Frequency of malnutrition was similar in both genders. According to MNA, 3.8% of subjects suffered from malnutrition, 32.7% were at risk of malnutrition and 63.5% were well-nourished. Nutrition status correlated with body mass index (P = 0.028) and depression (P = 0.001).The risk of severe depression in patients with malnutrition was 15.5 times higher than non-depressed persons (OR: 15.5; 95% CI: 2.9-82.5).
  • Conclusion: Depression could act as a powerful risk for malnutrition in elderly population that it should be controlled by physicians.
  • Key words: Depression, elderly, malnutrition, mini nutritional assessment

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