Background/Aim: Diet may be associated with depressive symptoms. The objective of this study was to determine the association between diet and depressive symptoms in first-time mothers.
Methods: Cross-sectional, baseline data (3 months postpartum) were obtained from the Melbourne InFANT (Infant Feeding, Activity and Nutrition Trial) Extend Program. Participants included first-time mothers aged 19-45 years from Victoria, Australia (n = 457). Diet over the past year was assessed via a validated, self-administered 137-item food frequency questionnaire. Adherence to the 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines was assessed using a previously developed dietary guideline index (DGI) as a measure of diet quality. Depressive symptoms were determined using the Centre for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D 10). Relationships between fruit and vegetable intake (serves per day), frequency of fish intake and diet quality and depressive symptoms were investigated using linear regression adjusted for covariates (age, socioeconomic position, smoking status, physical activity, television viewing time, sleep quality, and BMI).
Results: Higher diet quality, as indicated by a higher score on the DGI, was associated with lower depressive symptoms after adjusting for covariates (β= -0.034; 95% CI = -0.056, -0.012). There were no significant associations between fruit, vegetable or fish intake and depressive symptoms.
Conclusions: Increased adherence to the Australian Dietary Guidelines was associated with lower depressive symptoms among Australian first-time mothers. These findings may be used to inform future public health nutrition initiatives among this target group.
Funding source: World Cancer Research Fund