Food and Mood: Diet Quality is Inversely Associated with Depressive Symptoms in Female University Students
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Researchers have found support for an inverse association between diet quality and depressive symptoms in middle-aged adults. This association has not been well examined among university students, a population at risk of developing both depression and unhealthy lifestyle habits. We sought to examine the cross-sectional association between depressive symptoms and diet quality in female university students. One hundred and forty-one females (19.1 ± 1.5 years, 22.3 ± 3.4 kg/m2) were recruited from a Canadian university in 2012 and 2013. Dietary intake data were collected using 3-day food records and analysed using the Canadian Healthy Eating Index. Depressive symptoms were assessed using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale. Results of a linear regression demonstrated an inverse association between depressive symptoms and diet quality score (β = -0.016, 95% CI = -0.029 to -0.003, P = 0.017). Elevated depressive symptoms were associated with consumption of diets of poor nutritional quality in our female university student sample. Thus, healthy eating may correspond with lower levels of depression in young adult females.
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