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The effect of depression on dietary intake has not, to our knowledge, been examined in persons with HIV infection.
We conducted a longitudinal analysis of participants in the Nutrition for Healthy Living Study (NFHL). We measured changes in dietary macronutrient intake in participants who developed depression and, using multiple regression analysis, compared the changes with a control group of patients who did not become depressed.
Ninety patients developed depression during the observation period, and we compared these with 152 non-depressed controls. The two groups had similar age and body mass index (BMI) at baseline, but those who developed depression were more likely to be female, less educated and had lower incomes. After adjustment, compared with non-depressed participants, those who developed depression had significantly greater decreases in the following daily intakes: total energy (−341 kcal, P = 0.006), protein (−12.3 g, P = 0.02), total fat (−18.5 g, P = 0.008), carbohydrate (−36.8 g, P = 0.02), total fibre (−4.3 g, P = 0.001) and saturated fat (−6.7 g, P = 0.01). There were no significant differences in the daily intakes of simple sugars and long-chain n−3 fatty acids, or BMI.
Depression is associated with decreases in total daily energy intake and in six of the eight dietary components we measured. Clinicians should be aware that depression-associated nutritional deficiencies may complicate the care of persons with HIV.
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