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Parents Less Aware of Dietary Impact on Children’s Mental Health

Parents Less Aware of Dietary Impact on Children’s Mental Health

New research has found that parents and teachers are less aware of the impact of good childhood nutrition on brain development than they are of the impact on physical health. This latest research was carried out as part of the NUTRIMENTHE project and published recently in the British Journal of Nutrition.

Over 2000 parents and teachers of children aged between 4 – 10 years old took part in the study, which involved completion of an online questionnaire.  Results showed that 80% of participants felt that a child’s physical development depended very much or extremely on diet, whereas only 67% felt that diet had an impact on mental development.   

Lead author, Dr Bernadette Egan from the University of Surrey commented,

“Our study found that larger proportions of parents and teachers regarded diet to be an important determinant of physical development than of mental development.  The family provides a key environment for children to learn and develop food preferences and eating habits and parents are seen as nutritional gatekeepers.  Teachers also have a very important role to play at this stage of children’s lives.”

Source

Egan B, et al.  The effect of diet on the physical and mental development of children: views of parents and teachers in four European countries.  British Journal of Nutrition.  Published online ahead of print, http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S000711451500032X