According to new research from the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging, adults who have low fruit and vegetable intakes have a higher likelihood of being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
“For those who consumed less than 3 sources of fruits and vegetables daily, there was at least at 24% higher odds of anxiety disorder diagnosis,” says study lead Karen Davison, health science faculty member, nutrition informatics lab director at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, (KPU) and North American Primary Care Research Group Fellow.
“This may also partly explain the findings associated with body composition measures. As levels of total body fat increased beyond 36%, the likelihood of anxiety disorder was increased by more than 70%,” states co-author Jose Mora-Almanza, a Mitacs Globalink Intern who worked with the study at KPU.
“Increased body fat may be linked to greater inflammation. Emerging research suggests that some anxiety disorders can be linked to inflammation,” says Davison.
Other factors associated with anxiety disorders among mid-age and older Canadians. In addition to diet and body composition measures, the prevalence of anxiety disorders also differed by gender, marital status, income, immigrant status and several health issues. One in nine women had an anxiety disorder compared to one in fifteen men.
“Our findings are in keeping with previous research which has also indicated that women are more vulnerable to anxiety disorders than men,” says co-author Karen Kobayashi, Professor in the Department of Sociology and a Research Affiliate at the Institute on Aging & Lifelong Health at the University of Victoria.