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Students' Health Habits Tied to School Success
Fitness, nutrition, proper sleep and TV restrictions appeared to make a difference in study of city kids

By Mary Elizabeth Dallas

SATURDAY, Feb. 22, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep and being physically fit are important for students' success in school, a new study suggests.

When students' home and school environments support their physical health and well-being, they perform better academically, the researchers found, so programs in and out of the classroom to promote healthy behavior may be a smart investment.

The study looked at survey results and district test scores of 940 fifth- and sixth-grade students attending 12 randomly selected schools in New Haven, Conn., a poor and ethnically diverse city.

Researchers also assessed the students' physical fitness three to six months before they were tested and again after the scores of the standardized tests were released.

Students with environments that supported their physical health were more likely to reach their target scores in reading, writing and math. They were more than twice as likely to achieve this academic success than students whose environments supported their health the least, the investigators found. However, the study did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

The study, published online recently in the Journal of School Health, revealed health factors that were linked to improved test scores in the children, including the following:

  • Not having a television in the bedroom
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Being physically fit
  • Having access to healthy foods
  • Rarely eating fast food
  • Not drinking sugary drinks, such as soda
  • Getting enough sleep

"Many urban families sadly face the harsh challenges of persistent poverty," study lead author Jeannette Ickovics, a professor of epidemiology and psychology at Yale University, said in a Yale news release.

"Health and social disparities, including academic achievement, are increasing," said Ickovics, also director of the Community Alliance for Research and Engagement, a research program at the Yale School of Public Health.

"One way to reduce disparities and close the equity gaps in health and education is to coordinate community and family-based efforts with comprehensive school-based approaches," she concluded in the news release.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about the link between health and academic success.

SOURCE: Yale University, news release, Feb. 17, 2014

Copyright © 2014 HealthDay. All rights reserved. URL:http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=685059

Resources from HONselect: HONselect is the HON's medical search engine. It retrieves scientific articles, images, conferences and web sites on the selected subject.
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Disclaimer: The text presented on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice. It is for your information only and may not represent your true individual medical situation. Do not hesitate to consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting a qualified healthcare professional.
Be advised that HealthDay articles are derived from various sources and may not reflect your own country regulations. The Health On the Net Foundation does not endorse opinions, products, or services that may appear in HealthDay articles.


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