Studies Show Fast Food Linked To Teen Depression

Photo by Daria Sannikova from Pexels

A study conducted by The University of Alabama at Birmingham has linked teen depression with consuming fast food.

The research started by analyzing urine samples from middle school kids. The results showed low levels of potassium and high levels of sodium.

The study has drawn a correlation to high sodium and low potassium to depression behavior. The results also varied from male to female or as well as the household income.


This study examined the prospective role of urinary sodium and potassium excretion in depressive symptoms among urban, low‐income adolescents, and whether these relationships vary by gender. A total of 84 urban adolescents (mean age 13.36 years; 50% male; 95% African American) self‐reported on their depressive symptoms at baseline and 1.5 years later. At baseline, the youth also completed a 12‐h (overnight) urine collection at home which was used to measure sodium and potassium excretion. After adjusting for baseline depressive symptoms, age, BMI percentile, and pubertal development, greater sodium excretion and lower potassium excretion predicted more severe depressive symptoms at follow‐up, with no significant gender differences. The results suggest that consumption of foods high in sodium and low in potassium contributes to the development of depressive symptoms in early adolescence, and that diet is a modifiable risk factor for adolescent depression. Interventions focusing on diet may improve mental health in urban adolescents.




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