Poor diet & mental health in teens (2011)

Research has investigated poor diet & mental health in teens. Three quarters of lifetime psychiatric disorders emerge in the teenage years or in early adulthood. In an Australian study involving 2054 teenagers, researchers found that during a 2 year period, the teenagers who improved the quality of their diets experienced improved mental health. In contrast, those whose diet quality deteriorated experienced a worsening of their mental health. A better quality diet was one that included fruit and vegetables as “core food groups” and included both 2 or more servings of fruit per day and 4 or more servings of vegetables, as well as general avoidance of processed foods including chips, fried foods, chocolate, sweets, and ice cream. A poorer quality diet was defined as one which was high in snack and processed foods. This study could have important implications for prevention of mental health disorders.

Jacka FN, Kremer PJ, Berk M, de Silva-Sanigorski AM, Moodie M, et al. (2011) A Prospective Study of Diet Quality and Mental Health in Adolescents. PLoS ONE 6(9): e24805.

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