A new report shows that not only do extra pounds hurt kids’ health, but they also hurt schools’ finances.
The report, “The Learning Connection: The Value of Improving Nutrition and Physical Activity in Our Schools,” summarizes a number of studies showing that poor nutrition, inactivity and extra weight can have a negative effect on student achievement and that each year schools may be losing significant funding due to these problems.
Although the report cautions that more research is needed, it highlights research that shows schools with a high percentage of students that aren’t routinely active or don’t eat well had smaller gains in tests scores than other schools and that well-nourished students who skip breakfast perform worse on tests and have poor concentration. The report also states that children not getting adequate nutrients have lower test scores, increased absenteeism, difficulty concentrating and lower energy levels. It adds that physical activity programs are linked to strong academic achievement and that students participating in daily physical education have better attendance rates, a more positive attitude about school and superior academic performance.
The non-profit Action for Healthy Kids (AFHK), a public-private partnership of more than 40 national organizations and government agencies that represent education, health, fitness and nutrition, released the report earlier this week.