A healthy diet consisting of fruits and vegetables along with limiting consumption of refined sugars and fat, may boost a child's self-esteem, emotional well being and help form strong peer relationships, reports study.
The findings showed that better well-being was associated with consumption of fruit and vegetables, sugar and fat in accordance with dietary guidelines.
Moreover, fish intake 2-3 times per week was also associated with better self-esteem and no emotional and peer problems. Intake of whole meal products was also associated with no peer problems.
"Our findings suggest that a healthy diet can improve well-being in children," Arvidsson added.
For the study, published in the journal BMC Public Health, the team examined 7,675 children two to nine years of age from eight European countries -- Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Spain and Sweden.
The children were given a healthy dietary adherence score (HDAS) based on how closely they followed five guidelines: limiting sugar, limiting fat, preferencing whole meal over refined grains, eating 400-500gm of fruits and vegetables a day, and fish 2-3 times a week.
A higher Healthy Dietary Adherence Score (HDAS) was associated with better self-esteem and fewer emotional and peer problems such as having fewer friends or being picked on or bullied, in children regardless of body weight, two years later.