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Depression and physical functioning among older Americans with diabesity: NHANES 2009–2010

Authors

  • Pamela G. Bowen PhD, FNP-BC,

    (Assistant Professor), Corresponding author
    1. School of Nursing, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama
    • Correspondence

      Pamela G. Bowen, PhD, FNP-BC, School of Nursing, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, NB 416, 1720 2nd Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35294-1210.

      Tel: 205.934.2778, 205.934.6147; Fax: 205.996.7183; E-mail: pbowen@uab.edu

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  • Loretta T. Lee PhD, FNP-BC,

    (Assistant Professor)
    1. School of Nursing, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama
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  • Michelle Y. Martin PhD,

    (Professor)
    1. Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, Tennessee
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  • Olivio J. Clay PhD

    (Associate Professor)
    1. Department of Psychology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama
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  • Disclosure The authors have no competing interests to declare.

Abstract

Background

Caring for older adults with diabesity can be challenging for primary care nurse practitioners. The purpose of this study was to examine whether there would be an additive effect of diabesity on depressive symptoms and physical functioning of older adults. We hypothesized that there is an additive effect of diabesity on depressive symptoms and physical functioning among older adults with one or neither condition.

Methods

We performed a cross-sectional analysis of data from National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys collected from African-American and Caucasian adults aged 65 and over between 2009 and 2010. Multivariate linear regression models were utilized. The sample consisted of 918 participants. In covariate-adjusted models, participants with diabesity reported more depressive symptoms than people with neither condition. Individuals with diabesity and those with obesity alone reported significantly more difficulty with physical function when compared to participants with neither condition.

Conclusion

Findings suggest that diabesity was more burdensome to older adults than either condition alone. More research is needed to understand the interplay between depression, physical function, and diabesity.

Implications for practice

To disrupt the adverse effects of diabesity burden, increased nurse practitioner awareness of this phenomenon may be beneficial in improving and maintaining physical and mental health among older adults.

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