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Posted on 08-21-2013

Along with the myriad negative effects on physical health, "junk food" during pregnancy and in early childhood is linked to a significantly increased risk for poor mental health, including anxiety and depression, in very young children, new research shows.

A large, prospective study by investigators at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia, showed that higher intakes of unhealthy food during pregnancy, as well as a lack of healthy food in children during the first years of life, were linked to higher levels of behavioral and emotional problems.

"This study comes from the largest cohort study in the world and is the first to suggest that poor diet in both pregnant women and their children is a risk factor for children's mental health problems," principal investigator Felice Jacka, PhD, toldMedscape Medical News in an email.

For more information:

http://www.jaacap.com/article/S0890-8567(13)00449-8/abstract

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