Do you want your child to have academic success? Here’s a simple solution - throw out the sweets and junk food and serve more healthy foods to make it happen. There is no question about it – our food choices make a huge difference in our health and now it appears to also have a positive influence on academic skills, specifically reading.
A recent study out of Finland observed 161 Finnish students between the ages of 6 and 8 in the first and third grades. Researchers wanted to discover if poor diet quality lead to reduced achievement in academics as there is limited evidence in this area.
Using 4-day food records along with other measures assessed by the Mediterranean Diet Score (MDS), Baltic Sea Diet Score (BSDS), and Finnish Children Healthy Eating Index (FCHEI). Researchers reviewed the food records and their reading ability using standardized reading tests assessing their reading fluency, reading comprehension, and arithmetic skills.
What was found was children consuming a healthier diet had an association with better reading skills by the time they reached the third grade, regardless of how well they could read in the first grade.
Another discovery was that the quality of the diet and skill of reading were independent of other factors such as socioeconomic status, physical activity, body adiposity, and physical fitness.
Even though this is a small study, it does point to the benefits of feeding children nutritious, healthy food. Part of the reason why healthy food choices appear to correlate with improved reading skills may be that the child is receiving the necessary and appropriate nutrients for supporting growth and brain functioning enhancing the ability to learn. When a child is fed consistent, regular meals comprised of healthy food choices, they have a much better chance of going to school ready to learn, feeding their curiosity of discovering exciting information found by reading.
When parents take the responsibility of preparing and providing healthy meals, children will thrive having a much better advantage at academic success.
Learn more on feeding children by visiting Ellyn Satter Institute.