Kids who eat more fruit, vegetables have better mental health: Study


A new study has found that children who eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables have better mental health.

Norwich: A new study has found that children who eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables have better mental health.

The study was led by the University of East Anglia (UEA) Health and Social Care Partners in collaboration with Norfolk County Council. The study findings were published in the journal ‘BMJ Nutrition Prevention and Health’. This study is the first to examine the association between fruit and vegetable intake, breakfast and lunch choices and mental well-being in UK schoolchildren..

It shows how eating more fruits and vegetables is linked to better health, especially for middle school students. And children who consumed five or more amounts of fruits and vegetables a day had the highest scores for mental health.

The research team said that public health strategies and school policies should be developed to ensure that good quality nutrition is available to all children before and during school to improve mental health and improve children’s health. empowered to fulfill their full potential.

“We know that poor mental health is a major issue for young people and has the potential to have long-term negative consequences,” said lead researcher Professor Ailsa Welch from UEA’s Norwich Medical School.

“The pressures of social media and modern school culture have been cited as possible reasons for the increased prevalence of low mental well-being among children and youth.

And there is a growing recognition of the importance of mental health and wellbeing in early life — not least because adolescent mental health problems often persist into adulthood, leading to poor life outcomes and achievement,” Welch said.

“Although the relationship between nutrition and physical health is well understood, until now, little is known about whether nutrition plays a role in children’s emotional well-being. set out to investigate the relationship between dietary choices and mental well-being,” Welch continued.

The research team studied data on nearly 9,000 children in 50 schools in Norfolk (7,570 secondary and 1,253 primary school children) taken from the Norfolk Children and Young People’s Health and Wellbeing Survey.
The survey was commissioned by Norfolk County Council’s Department of Public Health and the Norfolk Safeguarding Children’s Board. It was open to all Norfolk schools during October 2017.

The children in the study self-reported their dietary choices and participated in age-appropriate tests of mental health, including happiness, relaxation, and good interpersonal relationships.

Welch said, “In terms of nutrition, we found that nearly a quarter of middle school children and 28 percent of primary school children reported eating the five-a-day recommended amount of fruits and vegetables. And just one in ten reported Were not eating any fruits or vegetables.”

“More than one in five middle school kids and one in 10 elementary kids didn’t eat breakfast. And more than one in 10 middle school kids didn’t eat lunch,” Welch said.

The team looked at the association between nutritional factors and mental well-being, and took into account other factors that may have had an impact – such as adverse childhood experiences and household circumstances.

Dr Richard Hehoe, also from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, said, “We found that eating well was associated with better mental health in children. And there was actually a strong association between eating a nutritious diet, especially among middle school children. There was a relationship. with fruits and vegetables, and achieving better mental health.”

“We also found that the types of breakfasts and lunches eaten by primary and middle school students were also significantly associated with well-being,” Dr Hayhoe said.

“Children who ate a traditional breakfast experienced better health than those who drank only snacks or drinks. But secondary school children who drank energy drinks for breakfast had particularly low mental health scores, even That was even less than for children who didn’t eat breakfast.” Dr. Hiho explained.

“According to our data, in a class of 30 middle school students, about 21 would have consumed a traditional type of breakfast, and at least four would not have had anything to eat or drink before starting classes in the morning. Similarly, at least three students will go to afternoon classes without having lunch. This is a matter of concern, and is likely to affect not only academic performance in school but also physical growth and development,” Dr. Heho he said.

Dr Heho continued, “Another interesting thing we found was that nutrition has as much or as much impact on health as factors such as regular arguments or viewing violence at home.”

“As a potentially modifiable factor at the individual and societal levels, nutrition represents an important public health target for strategies to address childhood mental well-being,” Welch said.

Welch concluded, “Public health strategies and school policies should be developed to ensure that both before and after school are designed to optimize mental health and empower children to meet their full potential.” Good quality nutrition is available to all children during this period. (ANI)

First published:October 3, 2021 at 12:51 pm

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