Better Health, Better Learning Report - July 2017 SCORE Better Health Better Learning Report_July 20 - Page 8

Relatively poor health for students can lead to loss of instructional time resulting from illness or behavior challenges. Research has shown students with low nutrient intakes have more symptoms of hunger, more psychological and social adjustment challenges, and higher rates of absenteeism and tardiness than students with higher nutrient intakes. 18 Many students also experience adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) that disrupt their development and can lead to a variety of negative physical, mental, and emotional health outcomes (Figure 2). ACEs can include both direct actions such as physical and verbal abuse, incarceration of a parent, and substance abuse in the home or physical, emotional, and educational neglect. As the number of ACEs experienced by a child increases, so too does the likelihood they engage in behaviors such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and drug use, as well as the likelihood they experience depression or perform poorly in school. 19 Because ACEs can short-circuit brain function and emotional development, they can lead to lost class time resulting from absences, truancy, and disciplinary infractions. The more classroom time students miss, the greater the challenge they face in catching up and succeeding in their academic work. FIGURE 2 STUDENTS EXPERIENCING ACES IN TENNESSEE 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 7 7 Source: Tennessee Department of Health, 2015. 0%