Academic performance is a strong predictor of future success including wealth, productivity, and overall health.
Understanding factors that affect academic performance in children will help push policies that promote better academic performance, thereby increasing the likelihood of success in adulthood.
Academic success, in childhood and adolescence, has been associated with higher income, increased productivity, and better overall health in adult life.
Therefore, understanding all the factors that may impede a child’s academic progress is important. A better understanding will lead to the development of appropriate policies to promote academic success in children, thereby increasing their chances of succeeding as adults.
A recent investigation into lifestyle behaviors and body weight status
A recent article, published in the International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity, investigated the effects of lifestyle behaviors and body weight status on academic performance.
The study included a total of 4,253 students aged 10-11 years (grade 5), from Nova Scotia, Canada. Participants completed a set of questionnaires aimed at assessing dietary lifestyle, physical activity, time spent watching television (screen time), and sleeping behaviors.
The authors were also provided with the participant’s grade 6 standardized provincial exam scores in mathematics, reading, and writing, which were used to assess academic performance.
Results of the study
The study found that meeting lifestyle behavior recommendations were strongly associated with higher academic performance.
More precisely, children that met dietary recommendations had better scores in mathematics, reading, and writing. Similarly, children that did not excessively watch television and met sleeping recommendations were associated with a better performance in writing.
Interestingly, no association was observed between the child’s body weight status and academic performance.
In conclusion, the study demonstrated that children who meet the lifestyle behavior recommendations tend to perform better academically. Thus, promoting healthy behaviors in children, like eating a healthy diet, watching less television, and getting enough sleep, are important for academic success.
Written By: Haisam Shah, BSc