A study released in the European Journal of Nutrition has found that healthy diet is linked to higher reading skills during the first three years of school. Researchers analyzed 161 Finnish children ages six to eight using the Mediterranean Diet Score (MDS), Baltic Sea Diet Score (BSDS), and Finnish Children Healthy Eating Index (FCHEI). They found, “Healthier diet assessed by BSDS of FCHEI in Grade 1 was associated with better reading skills…among children in Grades 1-3.”
Study researchers observed that the diet of many children typically includes a high intake of saturated fat, sucrose, and fast food and a low consumption of vegetables and sought to explore the connection between those foods and reading skills. The study states, “A higher BSDS and FCHEI were associated with better reading skills among children in their first three school years. These results suggest that following the Nordic and Finnish dietary guidelines  that results in increased consumption of vegetables, fruit, berries, and low-fat milk and decreased consumption of red meat, sausage, and foods high in sucrose could improve reading skills in school-aged children. Our results provide one of the first evidence on the longitudinal associations of diet quality with academic achievement in children and can be used in planning interventions aimed at increasing academic performance in children.”
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