Istinye University (ISU), Nutrition and Dietetics Department Lecturer Prof. Dr. Aliye Özenoğlu draws attention to the fact that an unhealthy diet in adolescents can increase the risk of bullying in schools. Reminding that nutrition has effects on mental health as well as physical health, Özenoğlu warns families that junk food can increase psychiatric distress and violent behavior in children and adolescents.
It is the dream of every parent to have a healthy diet for their children. However, the result may not always be as desired. Children and adolescents may turn to junk food and fast food in addition to healthy foods. Researchers say nutrition has effects on mental health as well as physical health. Istinye University (ISU), Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Prof. Dr. Aliye Özenoğlu draws attention to the fact that an unhealthy diet, especially in adolescents, can increase the risk of bullying in schools. "Research shows that adolescents' diet has a significant impact on bullying and anger control," says Özenoğlu, and warns families that junk food can increase psychiatric distress and violent behaviors in children and adolescents.
Anger is a necessary emotion
Stating that anger is a necessary emotion, Prof. Dr. Özenoğlu says: “Adolescence is a developmental stage in which rapid changes occur in emotional as well as physical change. Adolescents' perception, interpretation and reactions to changes in their body and environment in their own inner world differ. As in all age groups, one of the ways adolescents express their emotional reactions is anger. Anger is a normal, healthy and necessary emotion that arises in response to various situations. Health status, gender, school success, family and friend relationships can be counted among the factors that determine the adolescent's anger expression style. Inability to express anger in appropriate ways may cause violent behaviors in adolescents and as a result, physical, psychological and social problems. In addition, we know that the foods consumed not only provide metabolic fuel for the body, but also affect many brain functions, including the mind and cognition. Nutrients can contribute to both physical and emotional well-being. Studies show that excessive consumption of unhealthy foods such as sugar-sweetened beverages, sweets, chocolate, salty snacks and fast food is associated with an increased risk of mental health and behavioral problems. In addition, caffeine found in tea, coffee, chocolate, cola and some carbonated beverages is known to have a stimulating effect on the central nervous system. It is stated that consuming caffeine in large quantities causes sleep disturbance, irritability, anxiety, panic attacks and anxiety, and involuntary contractions can be seen in excessive doses.
Bullying in schools is on the rise
Stating that bullying is increasing in schools, Özenoğlu continues: “Studies reveal that bullying and being a victim of bullying is an increasing problem in schools for the last 25-30 years. Bullying victims often do not react to aggression, have low self-esteem and fear of rejection. Bullies, on the other hand, tend to be group leaders, are generally dissatisfied with school, and are negative and provocative towards their classmates. A study we conducted with students in high school and equivalent schools revealed that there is a link between nutrition and bullying. In addition, significant relationships were found between the consumption of junk food such as confectionery-patisserie products and violent behaviors (physical assault, bullying, being a victim). When the findings of our study were interpreted together with other studies, it was concluded that the increase in the consumption of unhealthy foods was also associated with an increase in the likelihood of mental health problems.
Be careful not to skip breakfast
Saying, “Changing the eating habits in a healthy way can be an effective approach to prevent mental health problems,” Özenoğlu also mentions the importance of breakfast and says:
“Breakfast skipping is a well-known health problem with adverse physical and psychological consequences. Skipping breakfast has become increasingly common among children and adolescents. Many studies have shown that skipping breakfast in adolescents is associated with a variety of risky health behaviors, such as smoking, frequent alcohol consumption, marijuana use, infrequent exercise, and behavioral disorders. On the other hand, skipping breakfast can be a possible sign of being bullied at school. Awareness to families kazanThis may allow children who skip breakfast to be monitored and assisted more closely. Depression and skipping breakfast can cause some children to develop eating behavior disorders that are more serious than the victimization of bullying. On the other hand, a regular and nutritious breakfast is an important element in the academic success of the adolescent at school.”