Nutrition Is Important Factor in Education Gap?

By Kochakian, Charles | New Haven Register (New Haven, CT), March 27, 2012 | Go to article overview

Nutrition Is Important Factor in Education Gap?


Kochakian, Charles, New Haven Register (New Haven, CT)


ALL eyes are on our children and their futures while state legislators focus on education reform during this 2012 session.

In the course of this discussion, a crucial component of our children's well-being must not be forgotten: their health.

Obesity rates among children, adolescents and adults have increased dramatically over the past four decades. Today, nearly 1 in 3 young people in the United States -- more than 23 million -- are overweight or obese and at greater risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes and other serious health problems.

Furthermore, recent studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Society of State Leaders in Health and Education have found a strong link between nutrition, school-based physical activity, physical education and academic performance.

Student health has a direct impact on cognitive skills and attitudes toward academic behavior, and results in better concentration, attention and overall improved classroom behavior. This connection is especially strong in Connecticut's lowest performing school districts.

Connecticut should focus on a concept we now know will improve children's academic achievement and prolong their lives. Coordinated school health programs are a strategy recommended by the CDC as a means of improving general health and academic achievement. This is why, as part of education reform, I support hiring a coordinated school health director for Connecticut's lowest performing school districts.

A school health coordinator (httpwww.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/cshp/ schools.htm) oversees all aspects of a child's well-being: academic, physical, social, nutritional and emotional. …

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