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Association between depressive symptoms and metabolic syndrome in Japanese community-dwelling older people: a cross-sectional analysis from the baseline results of the Fujiwara-kyo prospective cohort study


Correspondence to: M. Morikawa, MD, PhD, E-mail:



Metabolic syndrome contains many risks for medical diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, which might precipitate depressive symptoms in the older people. However, the association between depressive symptoms and metabolic syndrome in Japanese community-dwelling older people is unclear. This study was performed to answer this important question.


Cross-sectional analyses were performed on 3796 community-dwelling independent older people (≥65 years, 1911 men and 1885 women) from the 2007–2008 baseline examination of the Fujiwara-kyo study, a prospective cohort study on successful aging. Depressive symptoms were assessed using the 15-item short form of the Geriatric Depression Scale and metabolic syndrome was defined according to the 2005 International Diabetes Federation. Covariates were social supports, negative life events, health behavior, education, cognitive function, anthropometric status, and others. Multiple logistic regression analyses were performed to determine the relationships between depressive symptoms and these variables.


The prevalence of depressive symptoms (Geriatric Depression Scale-15 ≥6) and metabolic syndrome were 14.8% and 16.6%, respectively. Significant protective factors against depressive symptoms were higher education, more opportunity for drinking of alcohol, better social supports, and more walking daily. Metabolic syndrome was statistically associated with depressive symptoms (adjusted odds ratio = 1.32, 95% confidence interval = 1.03–1.68). Other risk factors significantly associated with depressive symptoms were sleep disturbance, visual or hearing impairment, and negative life events.


The present study showed an association between metabolic syndrome and depressive symptoms in ambulatory Japanese older people, as in western countries.