Depression is one of the most common mental disorders, and women are more vulnerable to depression than men, particularly during stages of hormonal fluctuations. After menopause, fat accumulation shifts from the subcutaneous area to the visceral area, and the risk of metabolic disorder increases in parallel. The present study aimed to evaluate the association between abdominal fat distribution and the presence of depressive symptoms in postmenopausal women.
Visceral fat area (VFA) was detected by magnetic resonance imaging. Depressive symptoms were evaluated with Zung's Self-Rating Depression Scale.
In all, 437 normoglycemic postmenopausal women with a mean age of 58.4 ± 5.0 years (mean age at final menstrual period: 50.1 ± 3.5 years) were enrolled in the present study, including 117 individuals with depressive symptoms and 320 individuals without depressive symptoms. The prevalence of abdominal obesity in women with depressive symptoms was much higher than that in those without depressive symptoms (37.6% vs 27.5%; P = 0.042). Participants with depressive symptoms showed elevated VFA values (74.6 ± 29.8 vs 65.9 ± 28.9 cm2; P = 0.006). Multivariate stepwise regression analysis demonstrated that VFA was independently correlated with the presence of depressive symptoms (standardized β = 0.099, P = 0.012).
In Chinese postmenopausal women, visceral fat accumulation was an independent and positive factor significantly associated with the presence of depressive symptoms.