Nutritional values of diets consumed by women suffering unipolar depression

Ewa Stefańska, Agnieszka Wendołowicz, Urszula Kowzan, Beata Konarzewska, Agata Szulc, Lucyna Ostrowska
Roczniki Państwowego Zakładu Higieny 2014, 65 (2): 139-45

BACKGROUND: Previous studies have shown that patients suffering from depression are more likely to adversely change their eating habits (eg. through increases in appetite, comfort eating and compulsive eating), which may result in an abnormal nutritional status.

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate selected dietary habits, such as the number and type of meals consumed during a normal day and comparing dietary calorific values and nutritional content between women suffering unipolar depression to those without this condition.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Subjects were a group of 110 women aged 18-65 years consisting of a test group of 55 women undergoing treatment for unipolar depression at the Department of Psychiatry, Medical University of Bialystok and a control group of 55 women, without depression, attending an Obesity and Diet Related Treatment Centre. A study questionnaire was used to determine their eating habits along with other relevant data. The 24-hour diet recall method was used to obtain quantitative data collected on 3 weekdays and 1 weekend day; results being averaged. The calorific values and nutrient content of selected components, according to mealtimes, were evaluated using the Diet 5.0 computer programme.

RESULTS: Those patients with depression showed that the 3 meals/day model dominated whilst the 4 meals/day model was predominant in the control group. The most frequently missed meals for both groups were afternoon tea and the mid-morning meal. Abnormalities in the calorific intake and nutritional contents from various meals were observed in women suffering depression.

CONCLUSIONS: It seems appropriate to recommend that those women especially suffering from depression should consult with dieticians about their changing dietary habits, particularly for achieving the proper calorific and nutritional values/ balance from their meals.

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