The Study on Global AGEing and Adult Health (SAGE): Depression and Body Composition Among Aging Populations
Olson, William John
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Olson, William John
Chronic disorders affecting the mind and the body are particularly common among older adults, presenting a major health challenge to healthcare providers around the world. However, the effects of aging on chronic mental disorders remains poorly characterized. The goal of the Study on global AGEing and adult health (SAGE) is to develop a more complete understanding of the process of aging and how it affects health in general. The current study used Wave 1 data from SAGE, a longitudinal study organized by the World Health Organization (WHO), which collects nationally representative samples of older adults (>50 years old) in six middle income countries (China, Ghana, India, Mexico, Russian Federation, and South Africa), to examine relationships among body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), and depression (with diagnosis based on a symptom-based algorithm). Previous research has documented complex associations between depression and body composition; i.n some studies, depression increases risk for being underweight, while in other studies it has been linked to obesity. However, the links between depression and body composition remain relatively unexplored among older adults and, additionally, no studies have systematically examined this relationship in non-Western countries. Results indicate substantial differences in depression prevalence by gender and country, ranging from 1.6% (men in China) to 22.9% (women in Mexico). Variation by gender and country was also evident in prevalence of obesity (from 1.3% among Indian men to 51.0% in South African women) and underweight (0.5% in Mexican women to 40.0% in Indian men). Multiple regression analyses were used with weighted population samples to examine the relationship between body composition measures and depression classification while controlling for key covariates such as age, smoking, drinking, marital status, and income. Among older South African women, depression was positively associated with BMI (p=0.003). Otherwise, the lack of a significant relationship between depression and body composition variables in the individual SAGE countries suggests that depression is not a major driver of body composition among older adults.