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Healthy eating impacts children’s literacy, study claims

Researchers in Finland have claimed that a healthy diet has a significant impact on children’s literacy skills.
The universities of Eastern Finland and Jyväskylä studied 161 children between the ages of six and eight, analysing the quality of their diets using food diaries.
Nordic and Finnish dietary guidelines recommend an increased consumption of vegetables, fruit and low-fat milk, and a decreased consumption of red meat, sugar and saturated fat.
They found that children following this diet performed better in standardised tests measuring reading, fluency and comprehension.
Eero Haapala from the University of Eastern Finland said that the connections between diet and literacy are independent of factors such as family background, physical activity, fat percentage and physical condition.
“I think that improving school lunch quality is one of the easiest ways to improve diet quality and thereby to support learning,” Eero said.
“I suggest that by simply following nutrition recommendations we may be able to improve school performance. No magic or tricks, just very basics of a healthy diet. Increasing the consumption of vegetables, greens (and other colourful food) and fish, and decreasing consumption of fast foods are good starting points.”