Some students eating habits may be affecting their learning and behavior in negative ways. We all need proper nutrition for our bodies to function properly. But what what happens when kids dont get proper nutrition? What affect does a poor diet have on their ability to learn from data that our minds collects, analyzes and tries to apply? Many people in the United States grew up on McDonalds Happy Meals, hotdogs, hamburgers, candy, sugary cereal, and sodas. This kind of diet could be hurting a students ability to learn before they’re even ready to fill out the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA).
Brains and Poor Eating Habits
While that might sound good, its clear that it isnt a diet that aids in learning and good behavior. The obvious problem with a diet like that is that it doesnt supply the recommended daily allowance of vitamins that we need to maintain good health and a good weight. When our bodies dont get the vitamins they need, they dont function at their best. That includes our brains. We need to eat healthy foods that help our brains work the way they were designed to work. The term JIJO means junk in junk out. That applies to how students diets can affect learning and behavior.
Junk Food Affect
When I was in elementary school I could buy a bag full of Jacks Cookies, a soda, some gum, and some hard candy for under a dollar. Junk food was cheap and easy to come by. Today students also have a lot of cheap and easy junk food options. But junk food and poor overall diets have led to a trend in obesity in children. More children than ever are overweight due to poor diet and inactive lifestyles. This is taking a toll on childrens ability to think clearly and learn.
Play the video above to check out selected scenes from the ‘Supersize Me’ documentary by Morgan Spurlock who ate nothing but fast food for 30 days. This is strong evidence that shows how damaging the typical ‘kids meal’ can be to a child’s health when a child eats too much fast food. The ‘Supersize Me’ documentary makes a strong case for how students eating habits may be affecting their learning and behavior in negative ways.
Sugar to Fat
Diets that are high in sugar and fat are popular but dangerous choices. Over time, poor diets like this lead to sugar addiction and obesity. Sugar tastes so good that its hard not to love it. Its great short-term energy when used immediately. But if it doesnt get used immediately it gets stored on our bodies as fat. The great taste of sugar and the energy high it gives makes it very addictive to students. This addiction causes childrens brains to spike and drop with sugar induced highs. Sometime this spiking shows up in poor grades and bad behavior.
Many of us have seen schoolchildren bounce off of everything after having too much sugar. That kind of behavior shows how students eating habits can affect learning and behavior. When students do what we sometimes call acting out, their behavior may be a response to too much sugar. Students that are being driven by sugar highs find it hard to sit still and focus on learning. That goes against whats taught in schools in the US which says, sit still and listen.
Poor Diet and Acting Out
In addition to experiencing sugar highs, students that have poor diets may also become overweight. Its well known that children like to tease the fat kid. This teasing or bullying can lead to loss of self-esteem, anger and acting out in some children. Students that lose confidence and become angry with themselves and others arent in the right frame of mind to learn. They may become frustrated with efforts to encourage them to do better in school and lash out. This is another symptom of poor eating habits.
Eat Better Learn Better
A solution to this problem is obvious. Students need to eat a nutritious diet in order to maintain a healthy weight. Avoiding or limiting sugar can help prevent sugar spiking and energy rushes. That can help stop bad behavior and weight gain. Children that are at the recommended weight for their age and height dont have to deal with the trauma that can be associated with it. Most dieticians recommend avoiding sugar and fat. Healthy eating habits can affect students learning and behavior in a positive way.