Nutrition as a Factor in Human Behaviour: a School Counselling Perspective
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The problem under investigation is whether disruptive behaviour in the classroom and mental health issues exhibited by some students could be attributable to poor nutritional habits. This paper explores the research related to the interaction between nutrition and mental health issues that some students exhibit and considers potential interventions in a school counselling program. In particular, the literature review discusses various studies that have investigated correlations between diet and mental health issues and/or disruptive behaviours, including in relation to general mental health and behaviour, depression and anxiety, bipolar disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorder, eating disorders, addictions and schizophrenia. The findings show that there is a significant amount of literature making a clear correlation between nutrition and behaviour/ mental well-being. This advocates for counsellors and educators to consider nutrition as a possible reason why some students might exhibit disruptive behaviour in a classroom setting and shows that the relationship between nutrition and mental health is important to incorporate into a school group counselling program, both on a school wide basis and when individually counselling students with particular issues. The paper goes on to consider how a nutrition counselling program could be spearheaded to address the greatest number of the students at any given school, and provides some general recommendations for moving forward.