Anorexia of aging (AA) is classically associated with depression. However, robust evidence is lacking regarding general clinic populations. Our aim was to evaluate the association between AA and major depressive disorder (MDD) in geriatric outpatients from a middle-income country.
We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of a cohort study. MDD diagnosis was assessed with a psychiatric interview (SCID-5-CV) according to DSM-5 criteria. Depressive symptomatology was assessed by a 15-items Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) and the PHQ-9 questionnaire. Appetite was measured with the Simple Nutrition Appetite Questionnaire (SNAQ), whereas AA was defined as a SNAQ score ≤13 points). Linear and logistic regression analysis adjusted for potential confounders were applied to assess the association between depressive symptomatology, MDD and AA.
Of the total 339 participants, MDD was present in 65. AA was more frequent in patients with MDD compared to non-depressed patients (30.7 versus 7.7%; p<0.001). The SNAQ score was lower in depressed patients (14.5 vs. 16.6, p<0.001). Adjusted for confounding, linear and logistic regression showed a significant association between the GDS score, PHQ-9 score and MDD with the SNAQ score (p<0.001) and cut-off representing AA (p<0.001), respectively. Moreover, MDD and AA interacted significantly with their association with weight loss (p<0.001).
Depression scales (even without somatic complaints) and MDD were associated with AA in geriatric outpatients. AA is associated with weight loss in MDD. Prospective studies should expand these findings.

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