A longitudinal analysis of Australian women's fruit and vegetable consumption and depressive symptoms

Megan Lee, Joanne Bradbury, Jacqui Yoxall, Sally J E Sargeant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
40 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background: In Australia, women report higher rates
of depressive symptoms than men. Research suggests that
dietary patterns rich in fresh fruit and vegetables could
protect against depressive symptoms. The Australian Dietary
Guidelines suggest that consuming two servings of fruit and
five serves of vegetables per day is optimal for overall health.
However, this consumption level is often difficult for those
experiencing depressive symptoms to achieve.

Aims: This study aims to compare diet quality and depressive
symptoms in Australian women over time using (I) two
serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables per day (FV7),
and (ii) two serves of fruit and three serves of vegetables per
day (FV5).

Materials and Methods: A secondary analysis was
conducted using data from the Australian Longitudinal Study
on Women's Health over 12 years at three time points 2006
(n = 9145, Mean age = 30.6, SD = 1.5), 2015 (n = 7186, Mean
age = 39.7, SD = 1.5), and 2018 (n = 7121, Mean age = 42.4,
SD = 1.5).

Results: A linear mixed effects model found, after adjusting
for covarying factors, a small significant inverse association
between both FV7 (b = −.54, 95% CI = −.78, −.29) and FV5
(b = −.38, 95% CI = −.50, −.26) in depressive symptoms.

Discussion: These findings suggest an association between
fruit and vegetable consumption and decreased depressive
symptoms. The small effect sizes indicate caution should be
taken in interpreting these results. The findings also suggest
that current Australian Dietary Guideline recommendations need not be prescriptive to two fruit and five vegetables for impact on depressive symptoms.

Conclusions: Future research could evaluate reduced vegetable consumption (three serves per day) in identifying the protective threshold for depressive symptoms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalBritish Journal of Health Psychology
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Mar 2023

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