Objective. The objective of this study is to determine the concurrent and longitudinal associations of lifestyle factors including smoking, alcohol drinking, betel quid chewing, tea (Camellia sinensis) drinking and physical activity with depressive symptoms in older Taiwanese.
Methods. The study analyzed Taiwan Longitudinal Study on Aging (TLSA) datasets to determine the association of lifestyle variables with concurrent depressive symptoms in 4122 >= 50-year-old Taiwanese at baseline (1999) and with the new development of depressive symptoms 8 years later.
Results. Heavy/problem alcohol drinking increased the association with concurrent depressive symptoms (OR = 1.85, 95%CI = 1.02-336); frequent tea drinking (OR = 0.63, 95%CI = 0.50-0.79) and frequent physical activity (OR = 0.59, 95%CI = 0.48-0.71) reduced the association; whereas smoking and betel quid chewing showed no significant associations. Smoking (OR = 1.56, 95%CI = 1.06-230) increased the development of depressive symptoms 8 years later; past smoking and current betel quid chewing showed similar trends (OR = 1.47, 95%CI = 0.93-231); exercising >= 3 times/wk reduced the development (OR = 0.77, 95%CI = 0.60-0.99) while alcohol drinking showed no impact
Conclusion. Lifestyle variables can impact the mental wellbeing of older Taiwanese. Interventions to reduce the risk of depressive symptoms in older adults should include strategies aimed at improving these modifiable risk factors.