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Healthy Eating Index scores associated with symptoms of depression in Cuban-Americans with and without type 2 diabetes: a cross sectional study

Joel C Exebio1, Gustavo G Zarini1, Cristóbal Exebio2 and Fatma G Huffman1*

Author Affiliations

1 Florida International University, Robert Stempel School of Public Health and Social Work, Department of Dietetics and Nutrition, AHC I 449A, 11200 S. W. 8th Street, Miami, FL 33199. USA

2 Universidad Privada Antenor Orrego, Av. América Sur 3145, Monserrate, Apartado Postal 1075, Trujillo, Perú

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Nutrition Journal 2011, 10:135  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-10-135

Published: 9 December 2011



Low diet quality and depression symptoms are independently associated with poor glycemic control in subjects with type 2 diabetes (T2D); however, the relationship between them is unclear. The aim of this study was to determine the association between diet quality and symptoms of depression among Cuban-Americans with and without T2D living in South Florida.


Subjects (n = 356) were recruited from randomly selected mailing list. Diet quality was determined using the Healthy Eating Index-2005 (HEI-05) score. Symptoms of depression were assessed using the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). Both linear and logistic regression analyses were run to determine whether or not these two variables were related. Symptoms of depression was the dependent variable and independent variables included HEI-05, gender, age, marital status, BMI, education level, A1C, employment status, depression medication, duration of diabetes, and diabetes status. Analysis of covariance was used to test for interactions among variables.


An interaction between diabetes status, gender and HEI-05 was found (P = 0.011). Among males with a HEI-05 score ≤ 55.6, those with T2D had a higher mean BDI score than those without T2D (11.6 vs. 6.6 respectively, P = 0.028). Among males and females with a HEI-05 score ≤ 55.6, females without T2D had a higher mean BDI score compared to males without T2D (11.0 vs. 6.6 respectively, P = 0.012)


Differences in symptoms of depression according to diabetes status and gender are found in Cuban-Americans with low diet quality.