Higher fruit and veg intake associated with better mental health in secondary school pupils

“Nutritious breakfast and lunch linked to emotional wellbeing in pupils across the age spectrum.”

Reviewed by Emily Henderson and published by News Medical, this article (reporting research) begins:

“Include good nutrition in public health strategies for kids’ mental health, urge researchers.

Higher fruit and veg intake are significantly associated with better mental health in secondary school children, while a nutritious breakfast and lunch is linked to emotional wellbeing in pupils across the age spectrum, finds research published in the online journal BMJ Nutrition Prevention & Health.

The findings prompt the researchers to call for the inclusion of good nutrition in public health strategies to maximize kids’ mental health.

Poor mental health is a major issue for young people, with survey data indicating that its prevalence is rising. The evidence suggests that teen mental health problems often persist into adulthood, leading to poorer life outcomes and achievement.

It’s not clear if school pupils’ dietary choices might be linked to their mental health. To explore this further, the researchers drew on responses from over 50 schools in Norfolk, England, to The Norfolk Children and Young People Health and Wellbeing Survey 2017.

In total, 10,853 pupils completed the survey on their mental health and nutrition: 9% of Norfolk primary school children in the target year groups (9-11-year-olds); 22% of secondary school pupils; and around 6% of young people in years 12 and 13 (17-18-year-olds) …”

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