In our culture, we often associate happy childhood experiences with unhealthy behaviors or foods. Who can forget summers filled with ice cream, lollipops secretly passed to you by grandparents, getting the first warm cookie out of the oven, or even licking the cake batter out of the bowl?
However, while junk food and soda companies use plenty of marketing spin to make us believe eating junk equates to happiness, a new study out of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden has shown that healthy eating is strongly linked to children’s happiness.
Dr. Louise Arvidsson, the corresponding author, said, “We found that in young children aged two to nine years there is an association between adherence to healthy dietary guidelines and better psychological well-being, which includes fewer emotional problems, better relationships with other children and higher self-esteem, two years later. Our findings suggest that a healthy diet can improve well-being in children.”
The study was quite large, looking at 7,675 children, two to nine years of age, from eight European countries. It concluded that a healthy diet was associated with better self-esteem and fewer emotional and peer problems two years later. The healthy diet guidelines included limiting intake of refined sugars, reducing fat intake and eating fruit and vegetables.
While there is much more to be learned about the connection between healthy eating and overall well-being, this study points out the many interconnections between lifestyle, food habits, overweight, psychological wellness, and even peer interaction.
Plus, when it comes to children’s wellness, and particularly childhood obesity, plenty research has pointed out that family history plays a big role in how well children eat. In fact, parental obesity is the biggest risk factor for obesity in children.
Having such active lifestyles can be difficult to make it a priority to emphasize wellness for the whole family. However, there are many ways parents can begin to encourage healthier eating with their kids, which can positively impact the entire family. Perhaps this new knowledge that emphasizes the health of the family, and especially children, can serve as extra motivation for adults and parents to start losing the extra weight and adopting healthier behaviors.
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Blog written by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation