Better Academic Performance — Is Nutrition the Missing Link?
What is the relationship between child nutrition and school outcomes. Nutrition, brain function, and cognitive performance. Appetite, NUTRITION AND ITS EFFECTS ON ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE highlighted studies concerning nutrition and its relationship to brain. Results: A er controlling for age, sex, district and school the results of test scores in both mathematics and general annual score were.
In children, this could lead to self-consciousness and withdrawal. In the school setting, this situation can also give rise to difficulties when performing some tasks because these children might feel embarrassed 9. However, these explanations are hypothetical, since no scientific evidence of such linkages has been found to date.
In the present study, no statistical difference was found between eutrophic, undernourished, and overweight students with respect to their performance in thereading tasks.
However, the literature provides evidence that nutritional disorders adversely affect cognitive and language tasks 2829both of which precede the acquisition of reading skills.
3 Ways Nutrition Influences Student Learning Potential and School Performance
The present study reiterates the need for government policies promoting the health of students, such as the PSE, instituted by Presidential Decree of December 5th, The PSE was the result of concerted work by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education, the purpose of which was to extend the targeted health interventions to public school system students. One of the actions included in the PSE is aimed at monitoring the nutritional status of the school community Early detection of overweight and obesity can foster public health strategies intended to improve the quality of life of the population Regarding academic performance, government policies such as the PSE enable interventions to reduce, or even eliminate, underachievement; this is of paramount importance given that children with these difficulties may develop emotional problems with ensuing repercussions in their individual, family, school and social life 6.
The results of the present study warrant further studies in order to confirm the association between overweight and school performance. The cross-sectional study design of this study made it impossible to establish a relation of causality between the analyzed variables. A longitudinal study, however, would enable closer monitoring of the children's schoolwork and nutritional status, and the identification of other factors, such as a home environment providing little cognitive stimulation and an unfavorable socioeconomic-cultural setting, both of which could impact school performance.
So far, it has not been possible to observe the children in their daily lives at home and the relationship with their parents, essential aspects of the investigation of the causes of student underachievement Conclusion Greater prevalence of overweight over malnutrition was found among the third-grade students of the elementary school.
A statistically significant relationship was found between poorer performance in spelling and arithmetics tasks and overweight, which suggests an adverse impact of inadequate nutritional status on school performance. Cabral AP, Tavares J. Psicologia Escolar e Educacional. Rev Assoc Med Bras.
Os efeitos das diferentes formas de capital no desempenho escolar: Rev Bras Est Pop. Brandelero M, Romanholo RA. The influence of children's diet on their cognition and behavior.
Teste de Desempenho Escolar; The WHO Growth reference data for years. The assessment of the nutritional status of the community. Sobrepeso e obesidade em escolares brasileiros de sete a nove anos: Maturational timingand overweight prevalence in US adolescent girls.
Am J Public Health. Growth at adolescence with a general consideration of the effects of hereditary and environmental factors upon growth and maturation from birth to maturity. Blackwell Scientific Publications; Rev Soc Bras Fonoaudiol. Early nutrition and later cognitive achievement in developing countries.
Exploring the connections between nutrition and learning
Causes of iron and zinc deficiencies and their effects on brain. Journal of Nutrition,— Nutrition, brain function, and cognitive performance. Nutrition and cognitive achievement: An evaluation of the school breakfast program. Working Paper, Emory University. Effect of vitamin and mineral supplementation on intelligence in a sample of schoolchildren. The Lancet, 1, — Controlled trial of vitamin — mineral supplementation on intelligence and brain function.
Personality and Individual Differences, 12, — The Lancet,— Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 51, — Raising IQ level by vitamin and mineral supplementation. Potential behavioral and emotional correlates. Pediatrics, 1e3. Likewise, acetylcholine and norepinephrine both play roles in controlling the central nervous system, heart contractions, and attention [ 1 ].
A connection was also made between short attention spans and low iron levels in children, which also affect recall capabilities [ 3 ]. Erickson [ 4 ] reduces her research to reflect the five main components found in foods to maintain cognitive capabilities. Protein found in meat, fish, milk and cheese, among others, are used to create neurotransmitters, explained above as chemical messengers to the brain. A lack of this substance, known as protein energy malnutrition, led to poor student performance, and was also a cause of lethargy, and children becoming passive and withdrawn.
The article goes on to cite carbohydrates, found in grains, fruits and vegetables, as key due to the breakdown of the compound into glucose sugarfrom which the brain gets energy. Carbohydrates also better enable the brain to absorb tryptophan, which is then turned into serotonin.
As noted above, serotonin plays a critical role in helping children, as well as adults, utilize brain capabilities. Erikson also noted that certain fats are necessary, such as Omega-3, in order to keep the brain well-nourished and stave off feelings of depression and inflammation, and increase memory and mood with an increase in serotonin, which is also known for creating the feeling of pleasure.
Furthermore, certain vitamins and minerals are vital to promote healthy brain growth and function. Vitamins such as A, B, and E are antioxidants and can be found in drinks such as green tea, and Vitamin B is essential in creating energy [ 4 ].
In an article expounding the necessity of proper nutrition, Wolpert and Wheeler [ 5 ] cite UCLA professor, Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, who analyzed over studies regarding the effect of food on the brain. His research focused on the role of synapses and how food can benefit the plasticity, or flexibility, of said synapses.
A synapse is essentially the connection or bridge between neurons and aide in vital functions, such as learning, retention and memory. The article cites the importance of proper nutrition and highlights the dangers of too much junk food; excess caloric intake can disrupt the plasticity of the synaptic relays to neurons, and increase the chance of damage to cells by the creation of free radicals.
Free radicals are unstable molecules that play a part in aging, tissue damage, and possibly some diseases [ 5 ]. Using a cross-sectional survey, Zhang et al.
The American diet is known to be high in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol. The surveys looked to identify fat intake with cognitive and psychosocial functioning.
Exploring the connections between nutrition and learning
The results of the surveys found that the consumption of Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids PUFAs was associated with a decreased academic performance, while increasing cholesterol showed an increase in poor performance. The researchers also stated that their report had limitations; the cross-sectionalism of the report limited them from asserting causality, the possibility of inaccurate information supplied by the mothers in an effort to appease social desirability, as well as the limitation of having created anything but rough data in only a 24 hour diet recall period [ 6 ].
As Wood [ 3 ] found through a 21 week study that followed iron levels of volunteers with borderline anemia, low iron levels in children has a direct effect on the ability to pay attention to information.