Research, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, looked at data on mothers' diets during pregnancy from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort study.
This study consists of data from over 23,000 mothers – and also looked at their children's diets at both 18 months and 3 years of age.
The researchers from Deakin University in Australia, alongside the researchers from Norway, analysed this data to look at the effects of specific dietary intakes and their potential effects.
They concluded that mothers who eat ‘junk food’ – like sweetened drinks, salty foods and refined cereals - while pregnant are more likely to have children with mental health problems (e.g. aggression and tantrums).
Lead researcher, Felice Jacka explained;
"It is becoming even more clear that diet matters to mental health right across the age spectrum.
“These new findings suggest that unhealthy and 'junk' foods may have an impact on the risk for mental health problems in children, and they add to the growing body of evidence on the impact of unhealthy diets on the risk for depression, anxiety and even dementia.
"The changes to our food systems, including the shift to more high-energy, low nutrition foods developed and marketed by the processed food industry, have led to a massive increase in obesity-related illnesses right across the globe."