Depressive Symptoms and Metabolic Risk in Adult Male Twins Enrolled in the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Twin Study

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ObjectiveTo determine the extent to which depressive symptoms are associated with metabolic risk factors and whether genetic or environmental factors account for this association.MethodTwin structural equation modeling was employed to estimate genetic and environmental contributions to the covariation of depressive symptoms, as indexed by the Centers for Epidemiological Studies–Depression Scale, and common variance among blood pressure, body mass index, waist-to-hip ratio, and serum triglycerides and glucose among 87 monozygotic and 86 dizygotic male twin pairs who participated in the NHLBI twin study.ResultsDepressive symptoms were associated with individual components of the metabolic syndrome and common variance among the risk factors. Twin structural equation modeling indicated that the associations were attributable to environmental (nongenetic) factors.ConclusionsThese results support the hypothesis that depressive symptoms may increase risk for a pattern of physiological risk consistent with the metabolic syndrome.

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