Healthy Eating and Academic Performance

May 03, 2011

Today we have a guest post from Sara Salo, MPH. Sara is the 'spokes'woman for School Food Tour, a 6,000+ mile self-supported bicycle tour that advocates for healthier school meals and promotes cycling for transportation and recreation. You can follow her adventures on the School Food Tour blog, where this post originally appeared.

What do wholesome meals and test scores have in common?

Quite a bit, according to public health research. One neat part about managing a blog is that I have access to every search engine query that directs a visitor to my site. I have noticed a remarkable number of Google searches on the topic of healthy eating and academic performance – an encouraging trend! Below, for interested folks, is a quick round-up of research and resources that should help to explicate the relationship between good food and a sharp mind. Enjoy!

  • Journal of American Public Health Association: Hollar, et al concluded that children who participated in an obesity prevention program that included healthy food “had significantly higher math scores.”
  • The American Dietetic Association: Rampersaud, et al. state, “Evidence suggests that breakfast consumption may improve cognitive function related to memory, test grades, and school attendance.”
  • Journal of School Health: Florence, et al. found “an association between diet quality and academic performance.”
  • Reuters: Healthy Diet Means Better School Performance
  • Healthy Eating Research has a long list of additional resources.
  • What about physical activity and academics? According to Leadership for Healthy Communities, test scores increase along with amount of physical activity. Learn more here.

Thanks to Sara for this great round-up!