April 12, 2012
The Effect of Nutrition and Fitness on Academic Performance
The health and overall fitness of adolescents and students has taken a radical turn in the most recent decades. Each year the overall body mass index of this particular group of individuals is steadily increasing. It seems to many that one’s health is a vital role in success, especially in the academic realm. Research was conducted to see whether this slight decrease of fitness and health has an impact on a student’s academic performance (Burkhalter 201). A broad range of sources was utilized to find other factors that played a role in academic performance such as family life and sleep habits. The search was then strictly narrowed down to the effect of nutrition and fitness on scholastic performance. By the end of the investigation, it was found that nutrition is vital to brain functioning and cognition. The main point that was targeted became: skipped meals are the largest cause of unhealthy habits in a student’s academic career, but this can be prevented by providing more food options for students and also by not having available classes during meal hours. This seems like a cliché issue and obvious topic, but this simple subject can have a huge impact on the lives of our adolescents, but more importantly the future of our country.
Children, adolescents, and young adults are constantly bombarded with assessments, evaluations, and exams that test their knowledge. All of these, combined with everyday lectures and studying, form to make what society knows as “school.” In today’s culture, from roughly four years old until about twenty-three years old, schooling (pre-school, elementary school, middle school, high school, and college) is a young person’s career. It is a time consuming process that involves commitment and dedication. Many factors play a role in how well a student performs. The most thought of, and prominent factors may include family life, time dedicated to studying, sleep habits, and the teachers or professors ability to relay information. One study, conducted by A.H. Eliassion, investigated the relative importance of total sleep time compared to a college student’s academic performance (Eliasson 71). The results proved that those with the highest academic performance had significantly earlier bedtimes and wake times (73). It was found that students could improve their academic performance by targeting their sleep habits (73). Another study conducted by Wanda Williams in 1995 investigated parent-child relationships in correlation with academic achievement (Williams 3). The results from this survey showed that the main contribution to a student’s success is family life and parent involvement (14). A few other factors that people sometimes do not think of may include nutrition, diet, and physical activity. According to Webster’s dictionary, nutrition most clearly means, “The act of nourishing or being nourished.” The term diet may include definitions that of, “Food and drink regularly provided or consumed,” or, “Habitual nourishment,” and the term physical fitness (or exercise) is known as, “Bodily exertion for the sake of developing and maintaining physical fitness.” Some may argue that poor academic performance could in turn lead to poor habits in health; that the stress and pressure placed on young people causes them to neglect their fitness and well-being. On the contrast, maybe this theory is completely opposite. In this paper I will attempt to answer the question: does nutrition and fitness have an effect on a student’s academic performance, and, if so, how? From breakfast consumption and sports involvement to the amount of television watched and family involvement, everything plays a vital role in a student’s success. Even things that seem so minor can have a profound impact on the long-term accomplishments in young people’s lives. Healthy habits in...