CHILDREN who eat healthy diets are happier, have better self-esteem and are more confident, a European study has found.

Kids who eat fruit, vegetables and fish are more likely to benefit from a lack of emotional problems and, as a result, are less prone to being bullied.

The study looked at 7,675 children between the ages of two and nine, from eight different countries in Europe – Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Spain and Sweden.

Parents were asked to report how often their child ate food from a list of 43 items.

Depending on their consumption of these foods, the children were then assigned a Healthy Dietary Adherence Score (HDAS), which records adherence to healthy dietary guidelines, including limiting intake of refined sugars, reducing fat intake and eating fruit and vegetables.

The height and weight of the children was also measured, and repeated again two years later.

The results found that those who best met European healthy food guidelines had better self-esteem and wellbeing, regardless of their weight.