• Gary Moller

Teenage Depression Doubles in Last 10 Years

Updated: Aug 23, 2020


"The proportion of teenagers with “significant” symptoms of depression has doubled in twenty years, according to research.

The Youth 19 survey, part of a long-running study of young Kiwis’ health, found 23 per cent of 7890 secondary school students likely had depressive symptoms that affected their daily lives – a marked increased from 2001 when 12 per cent of respondents met that criteria.

Similarly, between 2007 and 2019, rates of “good emotional wellbeing” among teenagers fell from 78 per cent to 69 per cent.

..... Those who attended low decile schools or came from lower-income families were more likely to experience depressive symptoms."


Gary comments:

Various reasons are given for the increase, especially among lower-income families. One key factor driving anxiety and depression is overlooked and this is the rather dramatic change in eating habits and of the nutritional quality of the food being consumed.

The "IN Generation" - The Instant Noodle Generation

The IN Generation describes a cohort of youngsters worldwide who are being raised on a depleted diet, best thought of as mostly consisting of instant noodles, rice, cereal and chicken. It is a generation that is depleted of nutrients other than poor-quality fats and oils, a saturation of cheap carbohydrates, generally enough protein, but sadly lacking in trace nutrients.

The poorer the family, the less fresh, nutrient-dense food that is consumed. This includes zinc and other trace minerals.

Zinc, the Masculine Mineral

While there are several minerals that may contribute to anxiety and depression, let's think of just one: zinc (Zn).

Zinc is a mineral for growth and tissue healing. It is needed for brain development and neurotransmitter formation. It is needed for the development of masculine physical characteristics. It is needed for the production of male hormones such as testosterone. Zinc is used by the immune system to fight yeast, viral and fungal infections. It helps regulate taste, smell and appetite.

Zinc provides emotional resilience and fortitude. When deficient we may see timidity, anxiety and withdrawal. Zinc deficiency is associated with autism.