Good nutrition has a positive and direct impact on a student's ability to do well in school. When your nutritional needs are met, you have the cognitive energy to learn and achieve. You will be better prepared to learn, more likely to attend school, and are more apt to take advantage of learning opportunities.
Well-nourished students have higher test scores, increased school attendance, improved concentration, and improved classroom behavior. Students who are physically fit sleep better and are better able to handle the physical and emotional challenges that they encounter during the day.
Key things to remember about leading a healthy lifestyle are:
- Eat a healthy diet that includes fruits, vegetables and whole grain products
- Control portion sizes and never "supersize"
- Get active for at least 60 minutes, five times a week for ages 6-18
- Avoid tobacco and illegal drugs all together
5 Stars of Good Nutrition
Protein – Choose a variety of foods with lean protein.
Protein is an indispensable nutrient and can be found throughout every tissue in our body. Protein is a vital source of energy but the most important function of protein is building and repairing tissue. We also need protein for our immune function, proteins transport vitamins and minerals throughout our body.
Grains – Make half of all the grains you eat whole grains.
Eating grains, especially whole grains, provides health benefits. Dietary fiber from whole grains may help reduce blood cholesterol levels and lower risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Grains are important sources of many nutrients, including several B vitamins, magnesium and selenium.
Vegetables - Make at least half of your plate fruits and vegetables.
Eating vegetables provides health benefits. People who eat more vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet are likely to have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases. Vegetables provide nutrients vital for health and maintenance of your body.
Fruits – Make at least half of your plate fruits and vegetables.
Eating fruit provides health benefits. People who eat more fruits and vegetables as part of an overall healthy diet are likely to have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases. Fruits provide nutrients vital for health and maintenance of your body.
Dairy – Always choose fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk.
Milk and dairy products are especially important to bone health during school aged years, when bone mass is being built. Milk provides important sources of calcium, potassium and vitamin D, and helps to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and helps to lower blood pressure in adults.
60 Minutes of Activity a Day
Fit "Fitness" into your busy day - It is important to your health and success. Whether it is walking the dog, running, or riding a bike... make physical activity one of the healthy habits in your daily life.
Kids need to get out and get active - limit sedentary activities. Students' lifestyles today are very different from what they were 10-20 yearas ago. TV, video games, texting and online social networks are now replacing the neighborhood kickball game. Kids and teens are spending more time sitting and less time running, jumping and playing. They must commit to staying active.
Students who are physically fit will...
- Find it easier to maintain a healthy weight
- Sleep better
- Have higher self-esteem and self-confidence
- Be more attentive in class and perform better in school
- Have proper growth with stronger bones, muscles, and joints
- Feel less stressed
- Reduce their risk of chronic disease
- Decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes
- Have lower blood pressure
- Have lower LDL "bad" blood cholesterol levels, and raise HDL "good" cholesterol levels
- Feel happier and have a better outlook on life!
Body Mass Index (BMI)
Body Mass Index (BMI) is a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters. A high BMI can be an indicator of high body fat. BMI can be used to screen for weight categories that may lead to health problems, but it is not diagnostic of the body fatness or health of an individual. The CDC has this website where you can calculate and find out more information about BMI.