ERIC Number: ED369579
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1994-Jun
Children's Nutrition and Learning. ERIC Digest.
ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education, Urbana, IL.
This digest reviews research on the link between children's nutrition and their ability to learn from the prenatal through school years. It also discusses the importance of nutrition education for children. The need for adequate nutrition during pregnancy and the preschool years is highlighted by research that indicates that low birthweight children are more likely than other infants to have learning problems and require special education services; and that children whose mothers had participated in the Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) scored higher on vocabulary tests than children whose mothers had not received WIC benefits. During the school years, anemic children tend to do poorly on vocabulary and reading tests; and hunger, skipping breakfast, and poor nutrition have a negative impact on students' cognitive performance. Poor nutrition among American children is due in part to poor eating habits, which include overeating, skipping breakfast, and using unsafe dieting methods, and, in part, to poverty. Children's nutrition habits are affected by the messages they receive from television and food packaging about foods high in sugar, salt, or fat. These messages can be countered by nutrition education in school, which is most effective when it delivered in the context of a comprehensive health education program. To foster children's knowledge of nutrition, schools can coordinate nutrition education with cafeteria meals, provide materials for parents about nutrition, and offer only nutritious foods at school; dietitians can speak to students about good nutrition; and parents can set a good example by eating healthfully, letting their children prepare meals, and exposing their children to new foods. (BC)
Publication Type: ERIC Publications; ERIC Digests in Full Text
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education, Urbana, IL.