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Article

Care Their Diet and Mind: Association between Eating Habits and Mental Health in Chinese Left-behind Children

by 1,†, 2,† and 1,*
1
Center for Mental Health, School of Psychology, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen 518060, China
2
Institute for Health and Sport, Victoria University, Melbourne 8001, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Academic Editor: María-José Castro
Nutrients 2022, 14(3), 524; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14030524
Received: 20 December 2021 / Revised: 17 January 2022 / Accepted: 24 January 2022 / Published: 25 January 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutritional Epidemiology among Chinese Populations)
Studies have shown that the prevalence of mental health problems is high among left-behind children (LBC). Modifiable eating habits may play an important role in promoting mental health among these adolescents. This study aimed to investigate the situation of dietary habits and their association with mental health problems in a sample of Chinese LBC. We conducted this cross-sectional study in an economically disadvantaged area of China in May 2020. Information on socio-demographic factors, eating habits (the frequency of eating carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables, protein, and breakfast), and mental health problems (insomnia, depression, and anxiety) were collected among local adolescents. Among 8939 adolescents were recruited, a total of 3314 LBC (1455 males and 1859 females, aged 12–17 years) were identified and included in the current study. Associations between dietary habits and mental health were analyzed by generalized linear models. Results indicated that the dietary pattern was unhealthy among LBC and even worse in females. Compared to routinely eating breakfast and fruits, lower frequencies of eating breakfast and fruits were identified as two significant factors with higher risks of mental health problems. Moreover, the association was more pronounced in females. Therefore, improving diet quality, particularly the frequency of eating breakfast and fruit intake may be an effective approach in the mental health promotion for LBC, especially for females. View Full-Text
Keywords: eating habits; mental health; adolescents; left-behind children; breakfast; fruit intake eating habits; mental health; adolescents; left-behind children; breakfast; fruit intake
MDPI and ACS Style

Liang, K.; Chen, S.; Chi, X. Care Their Diet and Mind: Association between Eating Habits and Mental Health in Chinese Left-behind Children. Nutrients 2022, 14, 524. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14030524

AMA Style

Liang K, Chen S, Chi X. Care Their Diet and Mind: Association between Eating Habits and Mental Health in Chinese Left-behind Children. Nutrients. 2022; 14(3):524. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14030524

Chicago/Turabian Style

Liang, Kaixin, Sitong Chen, and Xinli Chi. 2022. "Care Their Diet and Mind: Association between Eating Habits and Mental Health in Chinese Left-behind Children" Nutrients 14, no. 3: 524. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14030524

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