Better Health, Better Learning Report - July 2017 SCORE Better Health Better Learning Report_July 20 - Page 6

Student Health And Academic Achievement Volumes of research have identified the strong relationship between students’ overall well-being and their academic achievement. Many factors in a student’s everyday environment affect his or her health, just as they affect academic achievement. Recognizing the role of home environment, school conditions, and access to high- quality nutrition and health care, this section provides a brief overview of research findings on the strength of the connections between student health and academic performance. Physical activity, nutrition, and overall DEFINING HEALTH AND WELL-BEING well-being can have a profound effect on student achievement. One study found an association with academic performance The World Health Organization across a variety of indicators of dietary encourages a broad conception of health quality, adequacy, and variety. 11 and well-being. Therefore, the WHO’s Overall, students who are physically Constitution defines health as “a state active tend to have better grades, school of complete physical, mental and social attendance, cognitive performance well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” This brief reflects (e.g., memory), and classroom behavior. the WHO’s broad concept of addressing Researchers have found participation in physical, mental, and social needs. extracurricular physical activities such as interscholastic sports can lead to higher grade point averages, lower dropout rates, and fewer disciplinary problems among students. 12 In 2013, the Journal of School Health published findings of a team led by a University of Tennessee kinesiologist showing a strong relationship between muscular strength and endurance and academic achievement in all studied grades. 13 Researchers also have found that elementary students in Georgia who participated in an exercise program had higher math achievement and longer attention spans than students who were not in an exercise program. Compared to students who did 5