This week was Every Kid Healthy Week. In connection with it, Action for Healthy Kids® released a special report, The Learning Connection: What You Need to Know to Ensure Your Kids Are Healthy and Ready to Learn. The guide offers an easy-to-read roadmap for parents, educators, school administrators and school volunteers to create healthier school environments so the kids in their lives are better positioned to learn.
The 14-page, consumer-oriented report, which was sponsored by a grant from the Northwestern Mutual Foundation, found that physical activity supports academic achievement, that kids who are well-nourished learn better and that schools that have healthier practices increase their revenue.
“We know that healthy children are better learners. Unfortunately, one-third of our kids are overweight or obese and that jeopardizes their health and their ability to learn,” says Rob Bisceglie, CEO, Action for Healthy Kids. “Fortunately, parents, educators and others can work together to create healthier changes in schools. The Learning Connection explores the challenges schools face, but more importantly, outlines best practices and showcases success stories so that people in any school community can make healthful changes a reality.”
Quite importantly, it showed that schools that offer students healthier food and more time to be active are seeing increasing fitness levels, better student behavior and even higher test scores.
In sum, kids who don’t eat nutritiously and enjoy regular physical activity are at an academic disadvantage.
Among the key findings from the report which can be found HERE are:
• Moderate (physical) activity increases kids’ neuroelectric (or brain) activity.
• On average, students who eat school breakfast have been shown to attend 1.5 more days of school per year and score 17.5 percent higher on standardized math tests.
• One study of schools selling healthier foods and beverages found that 71 percent experienced revenue increases while 24 percent had no change at all.
The effort is a grassroots one, supported by a collaboration of more than 70 organizations, corporations and government agencies, working to provide the keys to health and academic success by meeting them where they are – in the classroom, in the cafeteria and on the playground – with fun physical activity and nutrition lessons and changes that make it possible for them to eat nutritiously and play every day.