A children’s nutrition survey by the UK education charity Food for the Brain has shown strong links between a healthy diet and higher SAT scores. The survey also reveals “the shocking state of children’s diet and mental health in Britain” which leads to one in three children suffering from attention or concentration problems and mood swings. Almost half are shown to have constant sugar cravings. The survey, the largest ever on British children’s nutrition and diet survey, involved over 10,000 school children aged between six to 16 years old, comparing aspects of their diet with their behaviour, academic performance, SAT scores and overall health.
Key findings from the survey include:
- Children who eat diets high in fried food, takeaways or foods cooked in hot fat are three times more likely to be badly behaved
- Children who eat vegetables, oily fish, nuts and seeds do best at school
- Children with better diets have 11% higher SAT scores
The worst foods are fried and/or takeaway foods, processed food, ready meals and sugar. A worrying 44% of children who eat this type of junk food most days are shown to suffer from bad behaviour, compared with only 16% of children who never eat fried or takeaway food having poor behaviour. The survey found that the best foods for behaviour are fruit and vegetables with high consumers of both twice as likely to be well behaved. The best foods for parental rating of good academic performance are shown to be raw nuts and seeds with high consumers twice as likely to have good academic performance. The best foods for good SAT scores are dark green leafy vegetables, oily fish and water.