Adolescents at risk of mental health issues are more likely to have a low fruit and vegetable intake

In February 2019 researchers from the UK and China published the results of their study to assess the association between fruit and vegetable consumption and mental health in adolescents. A total of 4,683 adolescents, who had been participants in the British multi-ethnic Determinants of Adolescents Social well-being and Health study, were included in this study. These individuals had been aged 11-13 years at the time of this previous study and had been followed up at age 14-16 years. Information on portions of fruit and vegetables consumed daily was collected via questionnaire, with information on their mental health being collected via questionnaire and by classification as a “probable clinical case”. Results showed that low fruit and vegetable consumption was common among adolescents, with approximately 60-70% reporting an intake of up to 5 portions/day and 20-30% reporting up to 1 portion/day. An analysis revealed that individuals who had been assessed as probably at risk of mental health issues were more likely to consume less than one portion of fruit and vegetables per day. Gender or ethnic specific effects were not observed.

Huang P et al. Fruit and vegetable consumption and mental health across adolescence: evidence from a diverse urban British cohort study. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2019 Feb 8;16(1):19

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