Higher fruit and vegetable intake is linked to better mental health among schoolchildren, according to a new study published online in BMJ Nutrition Prevention and Health. Researchers compared mental well-being scores with dietary intake data for over 8,000 students from the Norfolk Children and Young People Health and Well-being Survey. Students who consumed higher intakes of fruits and vegetables improved their mental health scores more than those who ate the least amount of fruits and vegetables. The authors noted similar improvements in students who ate breakfast and lunch when compared to those who did not eat breakfast or lunch or consumed only energy drinks. These results support including nutrition as an important modifiable factor in public health strategies to improve mental well-being among children.
Hayhoe R, Rechel B, Clark AB, Gummerson C, Louise Smith SJ, Welch AA. Cross-sectional associations of schoolchildren’s fruit and vegetable consumption, and meal choices, with their mental well-being: a cross-sectional study. BMJ Nutr Prev Health. 2021;e000205:1-16. doi: 10.1136/bmjnph-2020-000205