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Research has identified several relationships between diet, mental distress, and healthy lifestyle behaviors. One particularly popular diet type in America is the Western diet, which is filled with many processed and high sugar foods. This study examined the Western diet, and various more nutritious diets and their effect on participants' mental distress as well as their lifestyle behaviors. The experiment utilized an anonymous survey consisting of questions relating to diet, mental distress and lifestyle choices. A survey was released to a mid-sized northeastern university. Various college aged students from the university (N=161) and students from other universities (N=27) completed the survey. The survey was conducted to participants through several social media outlets, and also over text messages. Various questions from the survey were analyzed, such as (1) “In the past 7 days, how many times did you eat breakfast?” and (2) “In the last month, how often have you felt confident about your ability to handle your personal problems?”. Survey results were analyzed using SPSS version 25.0. Results indicated there is a positive correlation between healthy dietary patterns and healthy lifestyle behaviors and a negative correlation between healthy dietary patterns and mental distress. Results supported that hypothesis that various types of nutrient dense food led to decreased feelings of depression and hopelessness. Results support that healthy lifestyle behaviors and healthy dietary patterns improve overall health and decrease mental distress. It is recommended to increase sample size to further study and understand these relationships.



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Unhealthy Lifestyle Behaviors and Dietary Patterns Lead to Mental Distress?: An Analysis of Mental Distress Through Diet and Lifestyle Behaviors