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Metabolic syndrome and depression are not correlated: results from a community sample exploring the unique and common correlates for the two diseases

Author(s): Huan-Cheng Chang, Tien-Mu Hsiao, Mei-Huei Lien, Chih-Jung Yeh, Hao-Jan Yang


More and more studies are suggesting evidence for the comorbidity of cardiovascular disease and depressive disorders, yet the mechanism is obscure. Our study aimed to identify correlates common and unique to metabolic syndrome and depression, in order to clarify the relationship between the two diseases in terms of their taxonomy and potential overlapping mechanisms.


Data from a large-scale community sample of 30-year-old or older residents of a Taiwanese city (N=11,258) were analyzed to compare sociodemographic and lifestyle factors between four groups: metabolic syndrome only, depression only, comorbid condition, and no disease. The metabolic syndrome was defined by using the standards published by National Health Promotion Administration and the depression was assessed by using the Mental Health Inventory-5.


Results showed that prevalence rates of metabolic syndrome and depression were 14% and 16.5%, respectively, whilst a low, <3%, comorbidity rate was found. Education level and weekly exercise frequency were common factors to both metabolic syndrome and depression individually, but their directionality was different. Personal income was a unique factor to metabolic syndrome, while age, sex, and drinking habits were so for depression.


Our findings implied that metabolic syndrome and depression may not have direct relationship in terms of diagnostic taxonomy. However, social environment and personal lifestyle habits may be common factors connecting the two diseases. Thus, maintaining preferable lifestyle habits is the key to both physiological and psychological health.

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