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The Relationship Between Diet Quality and Mental Health in Canadian Children Open Access


Other title
Mental Health
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
McMartin, Seanna E.
Supervisor and department
Veugelers, Paul (School of Public Health Sciences)/ Colman, Ian (Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine, University of Ottawa)
Examining committee member and department
Ohinmaa, Arto (School of Public Health Sciences)
Willows, Noreen (Agriculture, Food and Nutritional Science)
School Public Health Sciences
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
Mental health disorders are a significant problem facing children. Emerging research suggests there is a link between nutrition and mental health. This thesis examines the association between diet quality and mental health in children. The first objective was to examine the cross-sectional relationship between feeling worried, sad or unhappy and diet quality in grade 5 students. This study found that diet quality was significantly associated with lower odds of feeling worried, sad or unhappy. The second objective was to determine the directionality of the relationship, which examined the relationship between diet quality and internalizing disorders over a period of three years. This study found that children with greater variety in their diet had significantly lower rates of internalizing disorder in subsequent years The present findings suggest that quality of the diet rather than specific nutrients may be implicated in the development of mental health disorders. This has important implications due to the modifiable nature of individual diet. Intervention and longitudinal studies are needed to expand on the present findings.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
Citation for previous publication
McMartin, S.E., Kuhle, S., Colman, I., Kirk, S.F., Veugelers, P. (2011). “ Diet Quality and Mental Health in Subsequent Years among Canadian Youth”. [In press Public Health Nutrition].

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