Supporting Our Children’s and Teenager’s Mental Health.

Globally, approximately 10 to 20% of children and adolescents are experiencing mental health problems according to the World Health Organization (WHO).1 Obviously this has come to be a serious public health issue, with much research and work being developed into general medical and primary care.2 Our children and teenagers are experiencing mental health problems both at school and within their families. As a rule, these can be categorised as behaviour disorders, developmental disorders, and emotional disorders.3  How to provide adequate help and support them in their current situation being a major issue. Recently Guzek and colleagues (2020) have reiterated that prevention is becoming even more vital and may be effective to assure not only proper mental health for the period of childhood, but also beyond.4 We asked Dr Shane to explore this for us and this is what he has found.

Diet is indicated to be associated with the mental health, including depression risk, with children and teenagers.5 Specifically, dietary patterns and diet quality have been of interest.6 Alongside the increase in mental health problems among our children and teenagers is a worrying potential reduction in the quality of their diets over recent times. Trends indicating reductions in the consumption of high-nutrient vegetables, fruits, and dairy foods (important sources of essential nutrients and fibre) with associated increases in the consumption of nutrient poor “fast food”, snacks and sweetened drinks.7

It is reported to be necessary to confirm the impact of specific dietary behaviours on general mental health, including suggested food products and nutrients including: fruit and vegetables, whole grains, fish, lean meat, olive oil, folate, B vitamins, magnesium, selenium, zinc, Monounsaturated Fatty Acids (MUFA), Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFA), polyphenols and fibre. 8 However, it is generally reported that children have a reluctance or avoidance which may lead to the daily recommendations of fruit and vegetables not been achieved. Recent data (2018) has shown that only 18% of UK children aged 5 to 15 ate five standard portions of fruit and vegetables per day.9 In a review of published studies the authors concluded that, “sufficient fruit and vegetables intake was associated with significantly decreased risk for depressive symptoms”. Plus, “combined with physical activity, …… also promoted a better well-being”.10

AS PARENTS, WHAT CAN WE DO?

We need to continue to ensure and promote that our children and teenagers routinely engage in health promoting activities, beyond improving their diets. This includes accessing appropriate resources and information.

SLEEP

For healthy sleep, the NHS provide tips and information in respect to relaxation, sleep needs, avoiding screens at bedtime for our children11 and teenagers.12

PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH

The NSPCC highlight that like physical health, mental health is important, and we need to encourage children and young people to think of their mental health and wellbeing as something that is continually changing. The NSPCC offer information, support and strategies in regard to key components including exercise, online wellbeing and healthy relationships.13

NUTRITION

As mentioned earlier in the post, as a baseline we need to encourage our children are eating a diverse and nutritious diet. This is easier to plan if we as a whole family follow the same eating patterns and eat the same foods. Plus, the benefits of a family eating together are reported to go beyond just encouraging eating the same healthy foods, they are described to also include academic performance, increase their self-esteem, and reduce their risk of substance abuse, depression, teen pregnancy, and obesity.14

SUPPLEMENTATION

The government, as reported by the NHS, recommends all children aged 6 months to 5 years are given vitamin supplements containing vitamins A, C and D every day.15 Plus, we need to ensure our children and teenagers regularly consume folate, B vitamins, magnesium, selenium, zinc, Monounsaturated Fatty Acids (MUFA), Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFA), polyphenols and fibre. 16 As with adult recommendations, this should be achieved through a nutritious, balanced diet. However, the practical use of good quality, appropriately formulated and targeted supplements offer us an insure against any diet resulting shortfalls.

Central to Bigvits philosophy is supporting the whole family and, in this respect, have sourced and offer many products. Using our Good, Better and Best recommendations, Life Extension’s Children’s Formula is an excellent product on many levels. The multi nutrient supplement is part of the range of cutting-edge preparations that have received numerous awards by the leading independent consumer testing organisation, ConsumerLab.com17, underscoring their commitment to quality, purity, and potency.

We also offer other specific products for our children and teenagers including:

N.B. All products and custom formulas are made with ingredients from some of the most reputable suppliers in the world. Furthermore, with no use any hidden fillers, coatings, or binders and each formula been manufactured with strict compliance to FDA and cGMP guidelines, their products are an obvious choice for consumers.

If you have a specific interest or would like to see a particular product or nutrient reviewed, please email your request to info@bigvits.co.uk. Educating our customers in respect to the importance of nutrients and the idiosyncrasies between formulas and products is at the heart of what we want to achieve.

This post is meant for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical or nutritional advice or act as a substitute for seeking such advice from a qualified health professional. In order to make the blog series easier to read, I have used a conversational tone in many places with personal pronouns, such as “I” and “you.” This is meant only to make it more pleasant to read, and is not meant to imply that the information constitutes any form of advice, whether personal or general.