Monday, August 27, 2012
The Link Between Nutrition and Academic Performance
Last week the No Kid Hungry campaign released a report saying that 3 out of 5 teachers say they have children in their classrooms who regularly come to school hungry.
For many low-income students, the low-cost or free breakfasts and lunches they receive at school may be the only meals they receive each day. This matters a lot to school districts because a child's ability to focus in school and their ability to recognize and understand concepts are directly affected by their diet.
Research shows that nutrition directly impacts brain development, cognitive skills, motivation, attention span, and more. A lack of proper nutrients can cause irritability, and make a child more susceptible to infections and diseases, which in turn affects school attendance.
So this is why breakfast is the most important meal of the day and what a child eats for it can determine how well they'll learn in school that day. During the course of a lesson or school day, the brain is working really hard to analyze and internalize specific concepts. I know from experience that learning to read, for example, uses a TON of energy. When my daughter was learning to read, I tried to make sure that our reading lesson was one of the first two subjects after breakfast. Otherwise, I was careful to give her a snack and a glass of milk before we attempted to read. There was a noticeable difference in her behavior and attitude if I didn't, and the lesson would quickly deteriorate to tears without the proper sustenance.
Last year in August, I dedicated a week to Nutrition here on MommyMaestra. And if you look through my blog, you'll find numerous articles on nutrition. I hope you'll take a moment to look through them for ideas on healthy foods and resources for menu planning. This week, I'll be sharing more products and resources to help you supply your child with the proper "fuel" that he or she needs to achieve maximum performance in school.
Meanwhile, I encourage you to check out No Kid Hungry's Facebook page and help spread the message about how we all can help to end hunger in our schools.
Con mucho cariño...