Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Stress Leads Kids To Unhealthy Diets

Date:
August 4, 2003
Source:
Center For The Advancement Of Health
Summary:
Stressed-out 11-year-olds eat more unhealthful food than their less-anxious classmates and consume fewer nutritious meals and snacks, according to British researchers.

Stressed-out 11-year-olds eat more unhealthful food than their less-anxious classmates and consume fewer nutritious meals and snacks, according to British researchers. A study of 4,320 schoolchildren found that they tended to slip into generally unhealthful dietary practices as their lives grew more stressful. Rather than simply overeating in response, they munched more often on bad stuff while ignoring healthy ways to eat, says the report in the August issue of the journal Health Psychology.

"Children in the most stressed category ate more fatty foods and more snacks, but they were also less likely to consume the recommended five or more fruits and vegetables or eat a daily breakfast," says Jane Wardle, director of Cancer Research UK's Health Behaviour Unit. Some prior researchers had found that stress was linked to eating more, while others connected it with eating less.

This could be bad news down the road, the researchers note: Obesity heading into the teenage years increases the chances of being overweight as an adult, which can then lead to increased risk of heart disease, cancer or Type 2 diabetes.

Wardle's team asked the children to take a standard test for stress, with questions like, "How often have you felt that you couldn't control the important things in your life?"

They also inquired about the students' consumption of 34 fatty food items, and how many servings of fruit and vegetables they ate each day, how often they snacked, and how frequently they ate breakfast. (Eating a healthy breakfast has been shown to have a positive effect on long-term health.)

Wardle found that the strongest association for stress was with fatty foods. The most stressed students ate nearly twice the amount of the least stressed group, she says.

Curiously, overweight students said they were less likely to eat fatty foods, snacks and breakfast. Overweight children claiming to eat less may seem contradictory, but Wardle says that obese adults typically underreport their daily energy intake, too.

Ethnic identity played a role in eating patterns, too. Asian students, who made up 8 percent of the sample, ate the best diets, and black students (comprising 19 percent) the worst, with white children (62 percent of the participants) in the middle. Higher socioeconomic status was also correlated with healthier eating practices.

"Stress appears to be consistently harmful to children in terms of steering their food choices away from the healthy and towards the unhealthy," she says.

Wardle and her collaborators hope to follow this group of children, observing them as they grow older, to track their diets and their health.

The study was funded by a grant from Cancer Research UK and the Department of Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Center For The Advancement Of Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Center For The Advancement Of Health. "Stress Leads Kids To Unhealthy Diets." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 August 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/08/030804075445.htm>.
Center For The Advancement Of Health. (2003, August 4). Stress Leads Kids To Unhealthy Diets. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/08/030804075445.htm
Center For The Advancement Of Health. "Stress Leads Kids To Unhealthy Diets." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/08/030804075445.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How The 'Angelina Jolie Effect' Increased Cancer Screenings

How The 'Angelina Jolie Effect' Increased Cancer Screenings

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) Angelina's Jolie's decision to undergo a preventative mastectomy in 2013 inspired many women to seek early screenings for the disease. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Cost of Ebola

The Cost of Ebola

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 18, 2014) As Sierra Leone prepares for a three-day "lockdown" in its latest bid to stem the spread of Ebola, Ciara Lee looks at the financial implications of fighting the largest ever outbreak of the disease. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins