Starting School Right – With a Nutritious Breakfast
School is beginning. It may be a heart-wrenching time for both parents and children. Many will experience both anticipation and jitters throughout the morning. Don’t be surprised if excitement fades to anxiety as the school bus pulls up or your child walks toward the school door. Their eyes can widen and one can sometimes see summer tan fade. If holding hands, the grip will tighten. Parent and child will feel more emotional. It is not uncommon to be fearful of change. Reassurance helps give strength.
As a parent, be reassured by the 2012 School Health Policies and Practices Study results from the Centers for Disease Control. Since 2006, the percentage of school districts with nutrition standards for foods purchased outside of their school breakfast and lunch program has increased from 55 to 74%. Over half the schools now have nutrition and calorie information on the foods available to students in their schools. More than 90% of elementary schools are required to teach physical education. School boards are stepping up.
Nutrition is important for developing minds and bodies.
- In anemic children, iron supplements improve cognition (Hermoso et al., 2011).
- Richardson and colleagues reported improvements in learning and behavior in healthy school-aged children with limited reading skills when supplemented with omega-3 DHA. The impact was greatest on children with the lowest initial reading skills (bottom 10th percentile).
- Higher serum folate concentrations have been correlated with cognitive performance in evaluations of mathematics, reading, and block design scores (Nguyen et al., 2013)
Whether eating breakfast at home or at school, research shows that having a healthy, well-balanced diet improves brain capacity, maximizes cognitive capabilities, and improves academic performance in school-aged children.
Hermoso M, Vucic V, Volhardt C, Arsic A, Roman-Vinas B, Iglesia-Attaba I, Gurinovic M, Koletzko B. The effect of iron on cognitive development and function in infants, children and adolescents: a systematic review. 2011 Ann Nutr Metab doi:10.1159/000334490
Richardson AJ, Burton JR, Sewell RP, Spreckelsen TF, Montgomery P. Docosahexaenoic acid for reading, cognition, and behavior in children aged 7-9 years: a randomized, controlled trial (The DOLAB study). 2012 PLoS doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0043909
Nguyen CT, Gracely EJ, Lee BK. Serum folate but not vitamin B12 concentrations are positively correlated with cognitive test scores in children aged 6-16 years. 2013 J Nutr doi:10.3945/jn.112.166165
Rausch R. Nutrition and academic performance in school-age children: The relation to obesity and food insufficiency. 2013 Nutr Food doi:10.4172/2155-9600.1000190