Purpose: To explore determinants of healthy dietary intake and depression, and examine the interaction between healthy dietary intake and COVID-19 lockdown on depression.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted at 18 hospitals and health centers from February 14 to May 31, 2020. Data of 8,291 outpatients were collected including patients' characteristics, clinical parameters, health literacy, healthy dietary intake (using the healthy eating score, HES), other health-related behaviors, and depression (using the patient health questionnaire, PHQ). Depression was defined as PHQ score ≥ 10.
Results: Protective factors of healthy dietary intake and depression were higher education, better medication payment ability, higher social status, more physical activity, and higher health literacy, whereas older age, ever married, own business or other types of occupation, lockdown, suspected COVID-19 symptoms, and comorbidity were associated with lower HES scores and a higher depression likelihood. Besides, overweight/obesity and alcohol drinking were associated with lower HES scores. As compared with patients not under lockdown and with lowest HES score, those who were under lockdown and with lowest HES score had 10.6 times higher depression likelihood (odds ratio, OR, 10.60; 95% CI 6.88, 16.32; p < 0.001), whereas people with higher HES score had 15% lower depression likelihood (OR 0.85; 95% CI 0.82, 0.89; p < 0.001).
Conclusions: Healthy dietary intake and depression were determined by several sociodemographic, clinical, and behavioral factors. Lockdown measure affects people's dietary intake behavior and depression. Importantly, healthy dietary intake potentially modifies the negative effect of lockdown on depression.