There are compelling reasons to address both the health and academic success of American children today. In 2012, the GENYOUth Foundation convened a Nutrition + Physical Activity Learning Connection Summit of scientists, academics, corporate executives, students, and government and nongovernment leaders to examine the research and develop practical approaches to enhance children’s health and their readiness to learn. Although improving children’s eating habits and physical activity levels clearly leads to multiple health benefits, the impact of nutrition and physical activity on academic success is less well known, particularly among administrators, educators, and parents. A growing body of evidence from research and school programs suggests that daily breakfast and an active school day can improve students’ classroom performance and academic achievement. A bank of potential 30/90-day action steps, generated by the Learning Summit attendees, makes it clear that everyone has an important role to play in improving nutrition and physical activity in schools.
Interesting connections between 3 good things in schools
Dayle Hayes, MS, RD, is president, Nutrition for the Future, Inc, Billings, Montana, and is a nationally recognized expert in creating healthier school environments. She is coauthor of the “Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Nutrition Guidance for Healthy Children Ages 2 to 11 Years.”
Marie Spano, MS, RD, CSCS, CSSD, is owner, Spano Sports Nutrition Consulting, Atlanta, Georgia, and Washington, DC, and is a sports nutrition consultant to professional sports teams.
Joseph E. Donnelly, EDD, FACSM, is professor of internal medicine and director, Energy Balance Laboratory and Center for Physical Activity & Weight Management at University of Kansas Medical Center at Kansas City, Missouri, and University of Kansas–Lawrence.
Charles H. Hillman, PhD, is professor, Department of Kinesiology and Community Health at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Ronald Kleinman, MD, is physician in chief, MassGeneral Hospital for Children and Charles Wilder Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.
Support was provided by the GENYOUth Foundation.
Charles Hillman and Ronald Kleinman have no conflicts of interest to disclose. Joseph Donnelley received support and travel reimbursement from GENYOUth Foundation. Dayle Hayes and Marie Spano received consultation fees, support, and travel reimbursement from FoodMinds.
Correspondence: Dayle Hayes, MS, RD, Nutrition for the Future, Inc, 3112 Farnam Street, Billings, MT 59102 (EatWellatSchool@gmail.com).