September 13, 2016

Finnish research: Healthy diet boosts children’s reading skills

Children with healthier diets improved more in their reading skills from Grade 1 to Grades 2–3 than children with poorer diet quality.
Children with healthier diets improved more in their reading skills from Grade 1 to Grades 2–3 than children with poorer diet quality.
Finland Promotion Board / Keksi / Sakari Piippo

A recent study from Finland has concluded that a healthy diet is linked to better reading skills in the first three school years.

A total of 161 children aged six–eight years old were observed from the first grade to the third grade in school. Those whose diet was rich in vegetables, fruit, berries, whole grain, fish and unsaturated fats, and low in sugary products, did better in tests measuring reading skills than their peers with a poorer quality of food.

“Another significant observation is that 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,” says researcher Eero Haapala, PhD, from the University of Eastern Finland and the University of Jyväskylä.

Published in the European Journal of Nutrition, the study constitutes part of the Physical Activity and Nutrition in Children Study conducted at the University of Eastern Finland and the First Steps Study conducted at the University of Jyväskylä.

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