Comment: A study from the University of Otago reported in the Science Daily adds to the evidence of the importance of lifestyle on overall health. This study looked at young adults and mental health – in summary, Getting good quality sleep, exercising, and eating more raw fruits and vegetables predicts better mental health and well-being in young adults, a University of Otago study has found. The interesting aspect related to sleep was that it was quality rather than quantity that seems most important.
“Sleep, physical activity, and a healthy diet can be thought of as three pillars of health, which could contribute to promoting optimal well-being among young adults, a population where the prevalence of mental disorders is high and well-being is suboptimal,”
Senior author, Associate Professor Tamlin Conner, of the Department of Psychology, says most prior research examines these health behaviours in isolation of each other.
“We showed that they are all important for predicting which young adults are flourishing versus suffering.”
She also stressed the study’s findings were correlations only.
“We didn’t manipulate sleep, activity, or diet to test their changes on mental health and well-being. Other research has done that and has found positive benefits. Our research suggests that a ‘whole health’ intervention prioritising sleep, exercise, and fruit and vegetable intake together, could be the next logical step in this research,” she says.