To determine the independent and combined associations of leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) and fruit and vegetable consumption with subsequent new depressive symptoms in Taiwanese aged ≥53 years.
We analyzed the 1999 and 2003 datasets of the Taiwan Longitudinal Survey on Aging and used the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale (score 0–30) to rate depressive symptoms. We excluded those who had depressive symptoms (Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale ≥10) at baseline, and carried out logistic regression analysis to determine the associations of LTPA and fruit and vegetable consumption, independently or in combination, with new depressive symptoms 4 years later (n = 2630).
Independently, high LTPA was associated with reduced new depressive symptoms (OR 0.75, 95% CI 0.57–0.99); higher fruit and vegetable consumption showed the same trend, but was not significant. Combining high fruit (OR 0.61, 95% CI 0.41–0.89), vegetable (OR 0.49, 95% CI 0.26–0.93) or fruit and vegetable (OR 0.39, 95% CI 0.20–0.77) consumption with high LTPA all further reduced the likelihood of developing subsequent new depressive symptoms beyond LPTA alone.
The simultaneous presence of several good lifestyle habits increases the beneficial effect of reducing the risk of developing depressive symptoms in older adults. Thus, older adults are encouraged to have as many good lifestyle habits as possible to reduce the risk of depressive symptoms.