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Healthy diet improves children's reading skills

New research from Finland suggests a healthy diet is linked to better reading skills in the first three years of school.
Healthy

New research from Finland suggests a healthy diet is linked to better reading skills in the first three years of school.

In a study involving 161 children aged 6-8 years old, researchers used standardised tests, food diaries and academic skills to assess the quality of their diet.

They found that children whose diets were rich in fruit, vegetables, berries, whole grains, fish and unsaturated fats, and low in sugary products, performed better in reading skills tests than children with a poorer quality diet.

The study also found that the positive associations of diet quality with reading skills in Grades 2 and 3 were independent of reading skills in Grade 1, indicating that children with

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New research from Finland suggests a healthy diet is linked to better reading skills in the first three years of school.


The study found that children whose diets were rich in foods such as fruit, vegetables and berries and
low in sugary products performed better in reading skills tests. Picture: IStock

In a study involving 161 children aged 6-8 years old, researchers used standardised tests, food diaries and academic skills to assess the quality of their diet.

They found that children whose diets were rich in fruit, vegetables, berries, whole grains, fish and unsaturated fats, and low in sugary products, performed better in reading skills tests than children with a poorer quality diet. 

The study also found that the positive associations of diet quality with reading skills in Grades 2 and 3 were independent of reading skills in Grade 1, indicating that children with healthier diets improved more in their reading skills from Grade 1 to Grades 2-3 than children with poorer quality diets. 

‘The associations of diet quality with reading skills were also independent of many confounding factors, such as socio-economic status, physical activity, body adiposity, and physical fitness,’ the study authors said. 


Haapala E et al (2016) Diet quality and academic achievement: a prospective study among primary school children. European Journal of Nutrition. doi: 10.1007/s00394-016-1270-5

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