Eating Fruits And Vegetables Is Linked To Better Mental Health In Children, Study Says

Mental Health News: Researchers from University of East Anglia found that children who eat more fruits and vegetables have better mental health.

Worldwide, mental health issues are increasing by leaps and bounds. Young people are at higher risk of poor mental health, which is associated with a range of negative consequences. There is a growing recognition of the importance of mental health and wellbeing in early life, because if left unaddressed, these problems persist into adulthood, leading to poorer life outcomes and achievement. There is a deficit of studies linking nutrition and emotional well-being.

In the new study researchers studied data from almost 9,000 children (7,570 secondary and 1,253 primary school children) in 50 schools in the UK. Data was collected from the Norfolk children and Young People’s Health and wellbeing Survey.

They investigated the association between fruit and vegetable intakes, breakfast and lunch choices, and mental wellbeing in these children. They found that the types of breakfast and lunch eaten by both primary and secondary school pupils were significantly associated with wellbeing. While eating well is linked to better mental wellbeing in all children, secondary school children showed better mental health when they had a nutritious diet, packed with fruit and vegetables.

“Children who ate a traditional breakfast experienced better well being than those who only had a snack or drink. But secondary school children who drank energy drinks for breakfast had particularly low mental wellbeing scores, even lower than for those children consuming no breakfast at all, “ said Dr Richard Hayhoe, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School. “Another interesting thing that we found was that nutrition had as much or more of an impact on wellbeing as factors such as witnessing regular arguing or violence at home.”

To Know More You May Refer To:

Hayhoe, R., Rechel, B., Clark, A. B., Gummerson, C., Smith, S. J., & Welch, A. A. (2021). Cross-sectional associations of schoolchildren’s fruit and vegetable consumption, and meal choices, with their mental well-being: A cross-sectional study. BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health, e000205. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjnph-2020-000205

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