Depression and body composition among older adults

Briana Mezuk, Sherita Hill Golden, William W. Eaton, Hochang Ben Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Recent investigations have reported an association between depression and geriatric syndromes associated with low body mass, including frailty and osteoporosis. The objective of this study was to explore the relationship between depression and body composition among older adults. Methods: Data were from a case-cohort study (n=98) of adults aged 60 and older nested within the Baltimore Epidemiologic Catchment Area (ECA) Study. Lifetime depression syndrome was assessed using the Diagnostic Interview Schedule (DIS). Body composition (total and central lean and fat mass) was assessed by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA). The association between depression and body composition was evaluated using linear regression with bootstrap standard errors. Results: Overall, there was no association between depression and total fat or total lean body mass. Among women, depression was associated with reduced central fat (B=3.6kg, p<0.06) and lean (B=3.3kg, p<0.04) mass adjusting for age, race, smoking status, and physical activity. Depression was unrelated to total or central fat or lean mass among men. Conclusions: Depression is associated with significantly lower central fat and lean mass among older women. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that depression and frailty are interrelated in later life, particularly among women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-172
Number of pages6
JournalAging and Mental Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2012


  • body composition
  • depression
  • frailty
  • metabolic risk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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