In a study of 4,320 11-year-olds, researchers from the Cancer Research UK’s Health Behaviour Unit found that stressed-out kids ate more unhealthy food than their less anxious classmates and ate fewer nutritious meals and snacks.
Rather than simply overeating, the stressed children munched more often on bad stuff while ignoring healthy ways to eat, according the report in the August issue of the journal Health Psychology.
“Children in the most stressed category ate more fatty foods and more snacks, but they were also less likely to consume the recommended five or more fruits and vegetables or eat a daily breakfast,” said researcher Jane Wardle.
This could be bad news down the road, the researchers said. Obesity heading into the teenage years increases the chances of being overweight as an adult, which can then lead to increased risk of heart disease, cancer or type 2 diabetes.