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Five A Day: UK Children With Healthy Diet Have Best Mental Health

Mental Health

Five a day: UK children with healthy diet have best mental health

Study prompts experts to call for nutrition to be included in public health strategies

Children who eat five or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day have the best mental health, according to the first study of its kind.

Higher intake is associated with better mental wellbeing among secondary school pupils, and a nutritious breakfast and lunch is linked to emotional wellbeing in pupils across all ages, the research shows.

The findings, published in the journal BMJ Nutrition Prevention & Health, have prompted experts to call for the inclusion of good nutrition in public health strategies to boost children’s mental health. Data indicates that poor mental health among young people is soaring.

Record numbers are seeking access to NHS mental health services, the Guardian reported last week. In just three months, nearly 200,000 young people have been referred to mental health services – almost double pre-pandemic levels, according to a report by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

The new study is the first time researchers have investigated the association between how much fruit and vegetables UK schoolchildren eat, breakfast and lunch choices, and mental wellbeing.

The lead researcher, Prof Ailsa Welch at the University of East Anglia’s Norwich Medical School, said: “While the links between nutrition and physical health are well understood, until now, not much has been known about whether nutrition plays a part in children’s emotional wellbeing.

“We know that poor mental wellbeing is a major issue for young people and is likely to have long-term negative consequences.”

Her team analysed data from almost 9,000 children in 50 primary and secondary schools across Norfolk taken from the Norfolk children and young people’s health and wellbeing survey. Participants self-reported dietary choices and took part in mental wellbeing tests covering cheerfulness, relaxation and interpersonal relationships.The study took into account other factors that might have an impact including adverse childhood experiences and home situations.

“In terms of nutrition, we found that only around a quarter of secondary-school children and 28% of primary-school children reported eating the recommended five-a-day fruits and vegetables,” said Welch. “Just under one in 10 children were not eating any fruits or vegetables.

“More than one in five secondary-school children and one in 10 primary children didn’t eat breakfast. And more than one in 10 secondary-school children didn’t eat lunch.”

Dr Richard Hayhoe, also from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, said: “Among secondary schoolchildren in particular, there was a really strong link between eating a nutritious diet, packed with fruit and vegetables, and having better mental wellbeing.”

According to the data, in a class of 30 secondary pupils, 21 will have had a conventional breakfast, and at least four will have had nothing to eat or drink before starting classes in the morning. Three pupils will go into afternoon classes without any lunch.

“Children who ate a traditional breakfast experienced better wellbeing than those who only had a snack or drink,” Hayhoe said. “But secondary schoolchildren who drank energy drinks for breakfast had particularly low mental wellbeing scores, even lower than for those children consuming no breakfast at all.”

Welch added: “As a potentially modifiable factor at an individual and societal level, nutrition represents an important public health target for strategies to address childhood mental wellbeing.”

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12 State Governors Owing Us, Health Workers Cry Out

The Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria MHWUN, has cried out that governors of 12 states of Nigeria are unfair to their members by owing them several years of salary arrears and also failed to standardise their payments .

The medical body noted that the worst of it all is that these governors have failed to implement the N30,000 new minimum wage that has become a law in the country.

They said the governors have subjected them to harrowing life.

The MHWUN National Vice President , Femi Adebisi stated this in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti state capital at the weekend during the 2022 international youth day organized by the South West leadership of the union, under the theme , ‘Intergenerational solidarity : creating a world for all ages.’

Adebisi said the welfare of health workers remains the only recipe to the recurrent brain drain crippling the health sector.

He however, did not identify the affected 12 states.

“We have nothing less than 12 states that are owing health workers their entitlements.We are engaging them as a union and we are hoping the governors and everyone concern will do the needful soon”, he stated.

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Pay Hazard Allowance To Health Workers, NLC Urges F.G

The President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Mr Ayuba Wabba, has urged the Federal Government to immediately begin the payment of hazard allowance to health workers in the country.

Wabba made the call at the 2022 annual Federal Capital Territory Nurses Week/Scientific Workshop of the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives on Thursday in Abuja.

At the workshop with the theme, “Invest in Nursing and respect rights to secure global health,” Wabba said the allowance has been reviewed but payment is yet to begin.

“Many health workers have fallen victim to diseases in taking care of patients. I salute the nurses and Midwives, your reward is not only in heaven but here on earth. I urge you to learn so you can discharge quality healthcare service to Nigerians.

“The payment of hazard allowance will boost the morale of our health workers in the country”, he added.


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Cholera Outbreak Kills 10 In Gombe

Gombe state government has declared an outbreak of cholera after ten deaths were recorded across the state.

This was made public by Habu Dahiru, Gombe commissioner for health,  on Thursday.

Dahiru, who was represented by Abdulrahman Shuaibu, executive secretary of the Gombe Primary Health Care Development Agency, said as of September 20, 236 cases of cholera had been recorded in the state.

“This year, from June, we had sporadic cases of cholera in Balanga LGA and because of the preparedness and prompt response; it has been largely subdued without escalation,” he said.

These outbreaks are recorded in eight wards across Balanga, Yamaltu-Deba, Nafada, Funakaye and Gombe LGA of the state.

“The state ministry of health has promptly initiated public health actions for prevention and control of the disease.

“As of September 20, there was an increase in the number of cases in Gombe state as 236 cases have been listed so far.”

The commissioner said increased downpour of rain and flooding in many parts of the state led to the cholera outbreak.

He said decontamination of wells and boreholes in affected communities would be carried out and distribution of water treatment tablets in all affected communities would be conducted.



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