Food and Behaviour Research

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Relationship between diet and mental health in children and adolescents: a systematic review.

O'Neil A, Quirk SE, Housden S, Brennan SL, Williams LJ, Pasco JA, Berk M, Jacka FN. (2014) Am J Public Health.  10 e31 - 42; doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.302110. 

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We systematically reviewed 12 epidemiological studies to determine whether an association exists between diet quality and patterns and mental health in children and adolescents;

9 explored the 
relationship using diet as the exposure, and 3 used mental health as the exposure.

We found evidence of a significant, cross-sectional 
relationship between unhealthy dietary patterns and poorer mental health in children and adolescents.

We observed a consistent trend for the 
relationship between good-quality diet and better mental health and some evidence for the reverse.

When including only the 7 studies deemed to be of high methodological quality, all but 1 of these trends remained.

Findings highlight the potential importance of the 
relationship between dietary patterns or quality and mental health early in the life span.