Does physical activity improve academic performance? Does eating healthily affect academic performance?
These are interesting questions which are particularly relevant at present as we have a number of healthy activities taking place at school. These include sports days for all year groups and also a healthy eating coffee morning for parents on Monday.
I suppose we all know intuitively that physical activity is good for children and helps their development in many ways. Various studies have taken place on the impact of this on learning and while results vary for individual children, many do appear to benefit academically. For example, a recent study in Finland showed a correlation between increased amount of activity at break-time and improvements in reading for young children.
The research on healthy eating gets quite scientific but there are certain types of food which are advised to be better for developing learning. Omega-3 fatty acids are particularly recommended and can be found in such foods as walnuts, salmon and beef. Studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids can not only benefit academic progress but can also help with behavioural development.
So the answer to the opening questions is that nothing is definitely proven! Things do vary from child to child but there does seem to be a general conclusion: Regular physical activity along with healthy eating will not harm your child in any way and it has a good chance of improving their learning at school.