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Nutrición Hospitalaria

On-line version ISSN 1699-5198Print version ISSN 0212-1611


LAZAREVICH, Irina et al. Depression and food consumption in Mexican college students. Nutr. Hosp. [online]. 2018, vol.35, n.3, pp.620-625. ISSN 1699-5198.


depression is frequently accompanied by overeating and a preference for certain foods that may consequently lead to weight gain.


a) to determine the prevalence of depression and the consumption of unhealthy food in first-year college students; and b) to analyze the association between depression score and food consumption frequency.


a cross-sectional study was carried out in 1,104 freshman students, 40.3% men and 59.7% women, at a public university in Mexico City. The 20-item depression scale (CES-D) and Food Frequency Questionnaire were applied to measure depressive symptoms and food consumption. Logistic regression analysis was carried out for food consumption frequency and CES-D depression score grouped in quartiles.


the prevalence of depression symptoms was 18.2% in men and 27.5% in women (p < 0.001). A considerable proportion of the students reported poor eating habits: consumption of fried food (30.3%), sweetened drinks (49.0%) and sugary food (51.8%) 2-7 times/week; and less than half the students practiced vigorous physical activity (39.7%). In women, a higher depression score was associated with a higher frequency of consumption of fast food (OR = 2.08, p = 0.018), fried food (OR = 1.92, p = 0.01) and sugary food (OR = 2.16, p = 0.001), and a lower frequency of physical exercise (< 75 min/week; OR = 1.80, p = 0.017). In men, no association was observed between depression score and food consumption variables. An association was observed between depression and low exercise frequency (OR = 2.22, p = 0.006).


women vulnerable to depression may use food to cope with negative mood states. Therefore, institutional health promotion and nutritional education programs should include adequate emotion and stress management.

Keywords : Depression; Food intake; College students.

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