For anyone who still doubts that food is medicine, here is a study of over 7600 children that found a healthy diet is key to a child’s well-being.
Healthy Diets were defined by limiting intake of refined sugars, reducing fat intake, and eating fruits and vegetables. Higher healthy diet scores were associated with better self-esteem, fewer emotional problems, and fewer peer problems. Higher fruit and vegetable intake was associated with ALL indicators of well-being (including parent relations!), fish intake was associated with better self-esteem and no emotional or peer problems; and whole meal intake was associated with absence of peer problems.
And the relationship between food and mood was found to go both ways. Kids who had better baseline well-being scores were also more likely to eat healthier. In particular, better baseline self-esteem was associated with limited refine sugar intake, good parental relations and fewer peer problems were associated with better fruit and vegetable intake, fewer emotional problems were associated with lower saturated fat intake.
BOTTOM LINE: Healthy diets = healthy, happy kids!
- Healthy Diet Key to Kids’ Well-being