Nutrition Improves Children’s Learning Potential and School Performance
According to the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) good nutrition influences student learning potential and school performance. Existing data suggests that with better nutrition students are better able to learn, have fewer absences and their behavior improves, causing fewer classroom disruptions.
Several studies indicate in the NIFA publication Three Ways Nutrition Influences Student Learning and Potential School Performance that nutritional status directly affects mental capacity among school-aged children. For example, iron deficiency, even in early stages, can decrease dopamine transmission, thus negatively impacting cognition. Deficiencies in other vitamins and minerals, specifically thiamine, vitamin E, vitamin B, iodine and zinc are shown to inhibit cognitive abilities and mental concentration. Additionally, amino acid and carbohydrate supplementation can improve perception, intuition and reasoning.
Other studies show that malnutrition leads to behavior problems, and that sugar has a negative impact on a child’s behavior. However, these effects can be counteracted when children consume a balanced diet that includes protein, fat, complex carbohydrates, and fiber.
Sociologists and economists have looked more closely at the impact of a student’s diet and nutrition on academic and behavioral outcomes. Researchers have found that a higher-quality diet is associated with better performance on exams and that programs focused on increasing students’ health also show modest improvements in their academic test scores.
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Evie Breedlove-Mangapora is a board certified nurse practitioner who practices and offers nutritional consultations at Well Bridges, located at 9200 Bonita Beach Rd., Ste. 113, in Bonita Springs. For more information call 239-777-4647 or visit InnerEssenceHealth.com.