According to new research from the University of East Anglia Health and Social Care Partners, children with a diet that is packed with fruit and vegetables, exhibit better mental wellbeing. This study is the first to investigate the association between fruit and vegetable intakes, breakfast and lunch choices, and mental wellbeing in UK school children.
The results indicate that eating more fruit and veg is linked with better wellbeing among secondary school pupils in particular. Children who consumed five or more portions of fruit and veg a day had the highest scores for mental wellbeing.
The research team say 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 optimize mental wellbeing and empower children to fulfil their full potential.
Lead researcher Prof Ailsa Welch, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, told uea.ac.uk: “We know that poor mental wellbeing is a major issue for young people and is likely to have long-term negative consequences. The pressures of social media and modern school culture have been touted as potential reasons for a rising prevalence of low mental wellbeing in children and young people.”
“While the links between nutrition and physical health are well understood, until now, not much has been known about whether nutrition plays a part in children’s emotional wellbeing. So, we set out to investigate the association between dietary choices and mental wellbeing among schoolchildren.”
The research team studied data from almost 9,000 children in 50 schools across Norfolk (7,570 secondary and 1,253 primary school children) taken from the Norfolk children and Young People’s Health and Wellbeing Survey.