Nutrition, physical activity, less screen time and good sleep are the pillars of a healthy lifestyle. Implementing each of these in the daily life of children can bring about a positive shift in their academic performance. As per a study published in “International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health”, (Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(1), 243), a direct link has been established between lifestyle changes and an upward trend in cognitive control and academic performance in high school students.
Let us further elaborate this by looking at the ways in which a healthy lifestyle impacts the academic performance of kids:
Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Texas offer a variety of programs to help kids in maintain a healthy lifestyle. The programs organized by the clubs include ‘ALL STARS’, ‘Passport to Manhood’, ‘SMART Girls’, ‘SMART Moves’, etc. The activities help kids in understanding the importance of a healthy lifestyle and improving physical activity. To know more about impacts of healthy lifestyle on academic performance of kids, visit 703 N. 8th Street, Killeen, TX – 76541. You can also call at (254) 699 – 5808.
- Brain Function: The brains of children who eat a balanced diet comprising of all essential nutrients are likely to perform to a higher capacity. Deficiencies in iron, zinc, vitamin B, C, A, calcium, folate, iodine and other vitamins or minerals lead to lower dopamine transmission in kids, impaired mental concentration and inhibited cognitive capabilities.
- Behavior: Children with a healthy lifestyle are willing to learn and have higher attendance at school. Malnutrition, high sugar consumption, junk food and other poor habits breed behavior problems in kids that affect their willingness to go to school and learn. For kids to exhibit their best behavior they should sleep on time, be physically active, and eat required amounts of protein, fat, complex carbohydrates and fiber.
- Physical Activity: Children who are physically active at school and at home have higher chances of performing well in academics as compared to their peers with sluggish lifestyles. Active students usually have better memory and concentration, lower dropout rates and less disciplinary issues, which result in better academic performance.
- Sleep: Consistent sound sleep is critical to a child’s academic performance. Sleep disturbances and inconsistencies affect student’s mood and well-being. Students thrive academically when their brains are well rested; they have better concentration, more retention/grasping power and higher energy levels throughout the day.
- Screen Time: Limited screen time is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle these days; its benefits are better sleep, lower BMI and less aggression. These benefits are directly linked to better academic performance and completion of homework. As per the latest recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), screen time of children aged 2 to 5 years should be limited to one hour per day and consistent limits should be set for older kids (6 and up).
With the advent of technology, kids are spending more time indoors making it more important to teach them the value of a healthy lifestyle and motivate them to adopt the same. A healthy lifestyle means living in a way that improves the physical, mental and emotional health of an individual. Introducing healthy lifestyle at an early age allows children to enjoy lifelong benefits in the form of lower risk of diseases and a higher life expectancy.
Important ways in which kids can be encouraged to adopt a healthy lifestyle are:
- Balanced Breakfast: Teach your kids to have an energetic and healthy breakfast before stepping out of the house. This habit will keep their energy levels high throughout the day, make them calmer, help them focus better and maintain a healthy weight.
- Smart Snacking: A hungry child tends to eat whatever comes handy at the moment, so it is better to stock healthy snacks for your child. For example, instead of sodas and cookies, buy fruits that your child loves, nuts (peanuts, almonds), seeds (pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds), eggs, peanut butter, air-popped popcorn, raisins, etc.
- Eating Slowly: This tip is often overlooked due to busy schedules but, it is one of the most essential things. Parents should inculcate the habit of eating slowly, speaking calmly and focusing on the entire process of eating when on the table. This teaches children the art of savoring what they eat and also helps in proper digestion of food.
- Exercise: Physical activity such as structured exercise programs or simply playing outside with friends is important for kids. Such activities not only encourage children to explore the environment they live in but also teach them valuable life skills like discipline, patience, team work, etc.
- Hydration: Staying hydrated leads to optimal functioning of the body’s organs, helps in maintaining healthy weight, aids in digestion and keeps the brain alert. So, encourage your kids to drink water and fresh juices at regular intervals.
- Family Guidelines: Set some meaningful family guidelines around healthy food choices and other lifestyle habits. For example, set a particular time for your kids to go to bed (without devices), discourage watching TV or staring at a screen while eating, limit portion sizes, set water drinking goals, have at least one meal together, etc.
- Involvement: When planning meals or shopping for ingredients, involve your children in the process. There is a lot for them to learn from the experience e.g. reading labels, making healthier choices and more.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Texas
offer a variety of ‘Healthy Lifestyles’ programs to encourage kids. For more details on ways in which kids can adopt a healthy lifestyle, visit us at 304 W Ave B, Killeen, TX – 76541. You can also contact: (254) 699 – 5808.