Better Health, Better Learning Report - July 2017 SCORE Better Health Better Learning Report_July 20 - Page 14

Across racial and ethnic groups, however, residents of rural areas are at increased risk of obesity and other conditions that can result from lack of access to healthy foods, relying on fast food and other low-cost, high-calorie options over traveling long distances to purchase higher-priced, healthier foods. 33 In addition to affecting access to nutritious foods, low household incomes can lead to diminished health and greater likelihood of chronic absenteeism, meaning more low-income students fall behind in their schoolwork as a result of lost learning time. As evidence, low-income elementary students in Tennessee are chronically absent at three times the rate of their more-advantaged peers. 34 Lost learning time threatens the ability of chronically absent students to master foundational knowledge and skills—including literacy and numeracy. 35 Recent research by the TDOE found “almost 45,000, o